Coming Attractions

What’s Next from Dread Unicorn Games?   Dread Unicorn Logo

You should always be able to see what’s for sale here: https://dreadunicorngames.com/shop-for-games/

  • Right now we are working on The Gods Have Spoken, a 5E supplement full of gods, creatures, factions, magic, and more. If you missed the Kickstarter it should be available for sale soon. https://dreadunicorngames.com/games/the-gods-have-spoken/
  • Our 5E intro adventure that shows off The Gods Have Spoken is The Gray World. This one-shot is the perfect tool to introduce players and GMs to our new content. https://dreadunicorngames.com/games/the-gray-world/
  • Part of The Gods Have Spoken Kickstarter is the Gods and Icons Upgrade Pack for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. More divine art and creatures that tie in with the gods. As writers roll off of The Gods Have Spoken, some will roll onto the Upgrade Pack.
  • Then we have That’s How the Light Gets in, a Numenera adventure for all tiers. The Sun Below is failing, and it’s up to the players to get it back on line. Which involves visiting more than a few dimensions. https://dreadunicorngames.com/games/thats-how-the-light-gets-in/
  • After that will be an adventure (name TBD) in two versions. One for 5E, and one for 13th This will be the start of a number of linked adventures. One link between these adventures is intrigue. If you can’t win a straight up fight with everyone, you’ll need to win some allies and maybe run a few con games. This will be Kickstarted, so watch for it!

The Old Gods

A full write-up of the Old Gods can be found in Gods and Icons for the 13th Age roleplaying game, and The Gods Have Spoken, for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons, Kickstarting until January 30th.

The Old Gods are perfect for Druids and Rangers, and anyone who wants to follow wild gods steeped in the power of nature. Elves and people who live in wild places are often drawn to the Old Gods. You can add these gods to your own world, or just grab the bits and pieces that work for you.

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The World Tree: Argir in the roots, the Sparrow and the Vixen in the branches, and the Ladies circling the tree.

The Old Gods are all that’s left of an ancient system of worship that once spanned this part of the world. The iconography of the Old Gods—particularly the wheel and the idea of life’s circle—is well-known throughout the region. Some of these gods and their cults have remained alive through old stories and rituals. Other cults have been resurrected by people disaffected by local rulers. The oldest variants of worship involve animal sacrifice and the use of psychotropic drugs to produce visions. Newer variants have taken the form of mystery cults and healing centers.

The ritual calendar of the Old Gods is still widely used. This ritual calendar dates from the creation of the world, and governs life events. Many people in the region use the calendar without much reference, sadly, to the culture that created it.

Followers of the Old Gods

Human

Our people and our gods once covered the land like stars in the sky. Due to great crimes committed in past ages, our power is now hidden. The wilderness shelters us and the cities of the invaders hide us. Our lives are not easy, but our songs and clans live on. When this terrible age ends, we shall be ready for the next.

Half-Orc

I left the shelter of the deep forest for the gold of the cities. Now the Sparrow and the Fox protect me as I share my take with my guild-mates.

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The Gods Have Spoken, Kickstarting January 1st!

Kickstarting New Years Day! New gods for your 5E worlds, and new options for 5E players.

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Twenty eight new fantasy gods arranged in three new Pantheons for your 5E game. Gods with passions, backstories, and agendas. So much more than a list of names and domains.

New domains and class features that work with these new gods, bringing new options to clerics, druids, paladins, and rangers.

The Gods Have Spoken!

From Dread Unicorn Games

Gods and Icons Art in Progress

Artist Justin Wyatt (cover artist for The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady) has sent in some sketches for Gods and Icons. I took his rough for the cover and slapped a title and 13th Age Roleplaying Game compatibility license on it. Just to get a feel for what goes where. The final cover will be in color.

Cover Sketch 1

We’ll reuse the art for the three gods above the castle in The Gods Have Spoken: Deities and Domains, as they share the same pantheons.

Of course we’ll want more art, but that’s what Kickstarter stretch goals are for.

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Squeezing Deities into Your Adventure

We’re thinking a lot about the gods in fantasy roleplaying games as we work on Gods and Icons and The Gods Have Spoken. Here Vanessa gives advice on adding a pantheon to your game, depending on what kind of GM you are.

You’re about to begin a new game. You’ve spent time on plot, NPCs, maps. You’ve thought of absolutely everything, and it’s all gleeful daggers and mayhem until someone says—

“I wanna play a cleric.”

Ruh roh.

If you’re here, one of your players wants a religious class, and your adventure doesn’t have gods. Or you’re trying to encourage one of your players to play a religious class so that the party has a healer. So you’ve grabbed a supplement or gone to a website or rifled through the PHB and found a pantheon. Or your player has handed you one god or many, and you promised to work them in.

Problem is, the gods? They weren’t in your world to begin with, and they don’t really fit. Or you might like a pantheon but have no idea how to integrate them into your world. You know that the religious-class player will want to have a sense of faith in the game—a cleric without a big religious moment is like a fighter without a battle. How do you squeeze a pantheon into your homebrew so that PCs have fun but you don’t waste a lot of time?

Easy. And it all depends on your GM style.

Map Maker

You always have a map for your game. It’s the first thing you build, and the chief way you think about your world. Boundaries, cultures, cities, terrain, and movement over a large area.

Large scale: Religious practices reflect the land in which the people live. Pick a place that is similar to the original terrain of the pantheon and make it the faith of the people there. Taiga for Norse gods, rainforest for Maya, rocky chaparral for Greek, etc. If there isn’t a terrain that satisfies you on the map, every map has an edge: add something beyond it. And if you’re stuck—if you’re using seafaring gods in a Dark Sun world—just remember that historically speaking, religious practices change over time. What if you landed a sea people on a desert world? How would they change their rituals to match their new territory?

Small scale: Stick a temple on your map. The faith may have been widespread, but now it’s a tiny vestige with limited influence. Or it’s a small cult that has broken off from a larger religion. The cleric has left either to proselytize or bring back an artifact/treasure to restore their former glory.

NPC Builder

You have a list of NPCs that makes the Monstrous Manual look tiny. When faced with a gaming problem, you ask yourself, “What would [NPC] do?” Their individual motivations drive the world.

Large scale: Instead of thinking about the pantheon as an entity, think of the pantheon as a group of NPCs. Let’s say this pantheon encounters your world. What do they want? How would they change the world, and be changed by it? Caveat: resist having the avatars get too personal with the party—nothing spells frustrating (or Iliad) like having your level 1 PCs constantly trapped into acting for the gods.

Small scale: Look at your NPC list. Make sure some NPCs are familiar with your cleric’s religion. They don’t have to be devout: heck, maybe they hate the faith. They just need to understand the symbols your cleric is wearing and respond to them.

Master Plotter

You’ve got the story down to the last detail. Random encounters? Ha! There is no random in your land. Your plot is epic and world-spanning, and you can’t wait to see how the players interact with it.

Large scale: Tweak your world plot. It doesn’t have to be huge. Perhaps the main villain is also of the cleric’s faith (awkward!) or is undead, giving the cleric some extra power in combat. Maybe the artifact of power defeating the evil wizard can only be found and activated by someone who follows your cleric’s god. Perhaps your main antagonist has a paladin minion who hates your paladin’s guts. Or the world tree is dying, and only a druid can research and perform the spell that will protect it from a horde of dire aphids.

Small scale: Create an encounter that requires the player-character’s faith. It can be as simple as a knowledge check or as complex as encountering an undead cult with a thirst for the blood of the PC’s religious brethren.

Player Responder

You see yourself as the person who helps your players create the story they want. If someone wants to explore that rocky crag and you didn’t prepare for it, you wing it. You spend a lot of time thinking of encounters to showcase player skills or backstories.

Large scale: If you haven’t already, consider asking your players to take a gamer motivation quiz: https://apps.quanticfoundry.com/lab/10 Look at the data. Do you have someone who loves to get powerful, to “win” the game? Create a priesthood with ranks determined by deeds. How about someone who loves combat? Generate gods and NPCs in opposition to your cleric’s faith, so the smiting may commence! They love to go on collection quests? Time to prepare some god-blessed artifacts. Someone who loves to roleplay? Make sure the cleric’s faith isn’t obscure: perhaps the people respect and defend priests of the faith, or perhaps the ruling class has mandated worship and the people are in revolt.

Small scale: Why do the work yourself? Give the player the basics of your world and let the player create the order from which they come.

Just Remember: Pantheons are Putty

Nothing is carved in stone (as deep as a spear is long on the trunk of the world ash tree). If there’s anything history teaches us, it’s that religions change and people’s ways of conceiving gods differ. The same Artemis who was worshipped as a javelin-thrower in Sparta was conflated with the goddess of magic in Athens. A Brauron cult had girls dress up as bears to appease Artemis the plague-bringer; in other places, Artemis was considered a protective goddess of childbirth. And while many knew her as a virgin goddess, Artemis was also worshipped as a mother goddess in Ephesus.

Moral of the story: You want to change the gods to suit your world? Do it. Humans have been doing it for millennia as it is.

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