Robin Laws’ multi-award-winning Hillfolk is a great game in its own right, but its DramaSystem engine includes a toolkit for describing and dissecting characters that can be used in other games. One of these tools is the concept of dramatic poles.
To quote Robin: “Driving any compelling dramatic character in
any story form is an internal contradiction. The character is torn between two opposed dramatic poles. Each pole suggests a choice of identities for the character, each at war with the other. Events in the story pull the character from one pole to the next. Were your character’s story to conclude, her final scenes would once and for all establish one of the identities as the dominant one… In many cases, you can conceive your dramatic poles as your desire, on one hand, and, on the other, the character trait that makes you least likely to attain it.”
In 13th Age, the player characters have relationships with one or more Icons – rulers and other powerful NPCs who shape the world from behind the scenes. As a relationship can be Positive, Negative or Conflicted, a well-designed Icon is always divided on some level. Even the most heroic Icon needs a little hint of darkness; even the vilest villain needs some redeeming quality. In the Dragon Empire setting, for example, the Lich King may be an undead tyrant who wants to conquer the lands of the living and restore his lost empire, but he still thinks of himself as the rightful ruler and has some sense of obligation towards his prospective ‘subjects’. The Priestess may be the mystic champion of all the Gods of Light, a shining vessel for their blazing kindness, but her overwhelming niceness might be hiding a secret agenda.
A well-designed Icon, therefore, is torn between two dramatic poles – usually, one that might draw the player characters to serve or support that Icon, and another that makes the Icon seem suspicious, dangerous or destructive. Evil Icons flip that around, so they’ve got one pole that makes them villainous and ghastly, and another that doesn’t redeem them, but makes them more nuanced and interesting than straight villains.
For the default Icons, I usually go with the pairs of poles below. Your own interpretations may differ, of course – and if you’re creating your own Icons, then you may find these helpful as inspiration.
Archmage: Benevolence versus Hubris – is the Archmage building a utopia, or a house of cards?
Crusader: Necessity versus Humanity – what does it profit a man to raze Hell to the ground, but still lose his soul?
Diabolist: Power versus Self-Interest – does the Diabolist have the courage of her convictions, or it all just a game?
Dwarf King: Tradition versus Friendship – can the dwarves move past the grudges and debts of their ancestors?
Elf Queen: High versus Wood versus Dark (yep, three poles) – which aspect of Elvendom holds sway?
Emperor: Law versus Truth – can the Emperor save the Empire from the intrigues and double-dealing of his courtiers and governors
Great Gold Wyrm: Heroism versus Sanity – mainly for the Wyrm’s followers, when does divine inspiration become indistinguishable from madness
High Druid: Nature versus Humanity (the concept that of Icon – and its followers – being pulled between elemental forces and humanity shows up a lot in my games).
Lich King: Death versus Obligation – what do the dead owe the living, and vice versa?
Orc Lord: Destruction versus Destiny – is the Orc Lord a disaster, or an opportunity?
Priestess: Divinity versus Humanity – can a mortal embody the gods and remind human?
Prince of Shadows: Anarchy versus Civilisation – what’s beneath the Prince’s mask?
The Three: Hunger versus Intrigue versus Malice (three poles again) – which head of the Three is dominant?
This month, in See Page XX, pre-order Cthulhu Apocalypse for Trail of Cthulhu, find out about our ENnie nominations, get advice about using interpersonal abilities and pyramids to drive story in your games, and playtest some one-shot story games.
- Our new releases include Cthulhu Apocalypse; the KWAS edition Hideous Creatures: The Great Race of Yith, Mutant City Spies for KWAS subscribers, and Summoning Spells for 13th Age Monthly.
- In our articles Robin D. Laws tries his hand at a 1-sheet GUMSHOE entry, Kenneth Hite has a quick and dirty look at Varna, Simon interviews Pelgrane writer and GM Ruth Tillman, and Rob posts the answers to last month’s trivia challenge.
- June playtesting opportunities include two story games; play adventurers about to set off on what might be their final battle in Before the Storm, or a family with a difficult choice in Acceptable Losses.
Check out the new Page XX now!
June has been a busy month! Our trips to two big conventions (UK Games Expo and the Origins Game Fair) have meant we’ve been on the road for a lot of June. Still, it’s always great to catch with Pelgrane fans, writers and GMs. Roll on Gen Con!
Production of the two core Dracula Dossier books have dominated this month, but we’ve still found time for a big, new launch in the form of a beautful new hardback collection of the relentlessly purist Cthulhu Apocalypse rules and adventures. We’ve also got the June edition of KWAS, Hideous Creatures: The Great Race of Yith, now available in the webstore, as is the June edition of 13th Age Monthly, Summoning Spells. KWAS Vol. 3 subscribers now have the latest edition, Mutant City Spies, on their order receipt pages – this will be available to non-subscribers at the end of July. And another two brand-new story games are available to playtest, from our upcoming story games anthology.
See Page XX Poll
It’s been an utterly packed month, with Games Expo, Origins and the Dracula Dossier occupying all our time. Yesterday, we uploaded four books to the printers – Dracula Unredacted, the Director’s Handbook, Cthulhu Apocalypse Doomsday Edition and the Forgotten Monk. Despite all our best intentions, and because GenCon is early this year, we’ve pushed very, very hard to give these books an outside chance of getting there. The 13th Age team have put together an updated System Reference Document to include the Bestiary, and we’ve planned new lots of new releases for 13th Age.
New in the store: Cthulhu Apocalypse Doomsday Edition, Hideous Creatures: The Great Race of Yith and Summoning Spells – the fifth edition of 13th Age Monthly.
Cthulhu Apocalypse Doomsday Edition
On 2nd November 1936, the end came and humanity fell. What happened next?
This is your answer, in the form of a 216-page hardback, written by Graham Walmsley with Gareth Hanrahan.
Graham Walmlsey wrote of Stealing Cthulhu and the seminal Purist adventures collected as The Final Revelation.
He also the author of the Gold-Ennie winning Apocalypse Machine, and their accompanying adventures The Dead White World, and with Gar, Slaves to the Mother. Those releases form the core of this new edition. Gareth has composed additional adventures which range from the the ravaged shores of England to America and beyond.
The Doomsday Edition is on pre-order from the store – download the PDF now.
ENnie Award Nominations
We’ve received a fantastic seven ENnie nominations in this, the year of Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. I was slightly downcast at the absence of The Eyes of the Stone Thief and the 13th Age Soundtrack from the ballot, but the competition is tough, and you can’t accept the plaudits without accepting the process. Here is what we are up for.
Best Interior Art, Best Setting
Best Electronic Book, Best Writing
Best Free Product
The Dracula Dossier
The great triumverate of Ken, Gar and Cat have finished their work on the Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted. Chris Huth and Sarah Wroot have completed their layout, and the files are with the printer. The ebook version will be delivered to backers before the end of next week. There are more components to complete, but the end is in sight. The Handbook and Unredacted will be available for pre-order next month.
- The 13th Age Bestiary, and the free Organized Play adventure The Archmage’s Orrery have been nominated for an ENnie. You can download the adventure from the link without signing up for Organized Play.
- Summoning Spells – the fifth edition of 13th Age Monthly is out now. I can’t wait to watch my group’s Wizard experience the joy of summoning a Laughing Demon!
- The Archmage Engine SRD has been updated with the monsters from the Bestiary. Download it here.
- We are finalising lots of 13th Age plans this month, including a GM’s screen – but I can’t say more that that for the moment. Watch this space.
Trail of Cthulhu
Work continues on the Out of the Woods anthology, which includes contributions by Ruth Tillman (interviewed here) and Adam Guantlett.
This is the first in a series of interviews with GMs who enjoy running and playing Pelgrane Press games.
Ruth Tillman is the deserved first on the list. She’s runs convention games, notably Trail of Cthulhu at GenCon. She co-hosts The Double Shadow, a Clark Ashton Smith Podcast and writes about Weird Gaming for The Illuminerdy as The Arkham Archivist.
And now she writes for Pelgrane Press, too. She contributed to TimeWatch: Book of Changing Years, an adventure for Dracula Dossier, and Midnight Sub Rosa, a very creepy Trail adventure for our forthcoming Out of the Woods adventure anthology, which Cat and Simon had the pleasure of playing at WarpCon.
Tell us a little about yourself, who you are and where you come from.
Stories have always been a part of my life. I learned to read aged 4, thanks to hours spent with my mother as she taught adult literacy. Shortly after, we had an incident in which squirrels got into our attic and chewed through the wires to the TV antenna. By the time my parents had gotten exterminators in and it was safe to repair the antenna wires, I’d gone two weeks without TV. My only show at the time was Reading Rainbow, though I got occasional splashes of Bob Ross and Julia Child. Since I’d stopped complaining and my little sister was too young to know, my parents decided not to fix it. Until 9/11, I had nothing on the TV but VHSes and, later, DVDs–all very deliberate choices and in limited supply. So I turned to the library’s seemingly-limitless books. I read widely as a kid, but settled into sci-fi and fantasy as my favorite genres as a teen–except for a year where I tried to devour every thing by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, etc. It surprises some people now, but unlike most teens I couldn’t handle the horror genre. I made a few forays and couldn’t enjoy anything scarier than Dracula. I do remember a little Anne Rice, but even that was hard on my stomach. Lovecraft was off-limits. Tried three Stephen Kings with no success. I read a little Dean Koontz (I was a teen) and had nightmares so bad I couldn’t sleep the next night. I had, and to some degree still have, what Lovecraft would describe as a sensitive imagination. But I loved stories and I always tried pushing just to see if I could handle something.
What was the first RPG you ever played, and what was that session like?
When I was 18, I met a really awesome sophomore girl in my J-term class and we each separately concluded that we needed to be friends. Over lunch just a couple days after we met, she asked me if I’d be interested in joining her that Saturday for some D&D. My parents had an unfortunate exposure to the D&D panics of the 1980s, so I’d been told to regard this kind of thing as dangerous, but I was a freshman and that felt like pushing an envelope. Turned out the rest of her group were (awesome) guys, so I think she wanted me in the game for a little more gender parity as well as to have a reason to hang out on weekends. We were playing 3rd edition D&D. I don’t remember the particulars of that session (though I can still tell you how that character died later on!), but it was a fantastic intro group for learning how RPGs worked. Our DM was an English major, as were my new friend and I. The rest of the guys were all getting minors in theatre or dabbling in acting. The game was a huge collaborative story. Our DM was definitely in charge, but he was open to plot threads and improv and anything we brought to the table. When I finally told my parents I was playing D&D, I framed it as a collaborative storytelling exercise between English majors and thus relevant to my major. We played that game for 3 years. It was a really good starting experience.
As a bonus, 10 years after I first met them, I had the opportunity to run 13th Age for that very first DM (who, after a decade, was finally dating the woman who’d invited me to play in the first place).
How did you come to be a GM – were you one from the outset?
I didn’t become a GM until my mid/late-20s. My first game was School Daze, which I ran specifically because I wanted to try being a GM and the simple six system seemed like a good place to start. I wrote the scenario myself, based on a film about stealing the SATs (The Perfect Score, 2004, starring baby Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, but not that good). My guinea pigs were all friends I felt I could screw up with, although I was slightly-intimidated because one of them wrote the game (but did a great job of NOT butting in to tell me how I could run it better). I’ve run a few prepared adventures, but I guess that foreshadowed my style. I tend to write what I’m going to run so I have a complete grasp of the situation.
What piece of advice would you offer a new GM? An experienced one?
New GM: Run games for people you trust, if you have them. Immerse yourself in the story you’re telling so that you’re prepared for things to go off the rails. Don’t panic and do listen. Even when your plans fall apart completely, if your players stay engaged they’ll probably have a good time. Run with what they’re doing while thinking two steps ahead about the overall story and how you can loop it back into what they’re doing right now. Read Will Hindmarch’s post about a railroad and why it’s not always a bad thing. Your greatest power is completely bullshitting a situation like you planned it that way.
I don’t know if I have much to say to experienced GMs other than that, if you’re like me (and many of you are probably more experienced), you’ve got a ways to go–so keep building the skills that work for you.
How much prep do you do for your games, and do you enjoy as a rewarding activity in itself?
I have a really bad habit of deciding to write the scenario I’m running. That leads to a fair amount of prep, but I do it because it’s really fun for me. If I’ve already run a version of this scenario a few times (except at the same con, I’ve never run the same version of the same scenario), I mostly focus on reviewing the overall structure of the story and make a bunch of index cards with info about the NPCs. That takes maybe an hour or two to refresh and re-prep.
Which game conventions do you attend, and how does roleplaying at conventions differ from home games?
I’ve been attending GenCon, Metatopia, and our local DC Gameday. At GenCon, in particular, I come into a game with very different expectations. Even in the local gameday, since I know the names of the people who are going to be in my games, I kind of have an idea of how the game will go. I also try to put in elements which I know they’ll like. Of course I’m going to make a pregen who’s skilled at driving and explosives if Tom’s signed up to be in my Night’s Black Agents game. At GenCon, it’s complete strangers to whom I’m also a complete stranger. I find it exciting. There’s always a lot of surprise as to what people will do.
What drew you to Trail of Cthulhu?
By this point, I’d gotten into Lovecraftian stories and wanted to do more Lovecraftian gaming. I know this is some kind of heresy, but Call of Cthulhu’s hook never quite caught me. It just wasn’t for me. What made Trail click for me was reading some of the adventures written for it. I thought “ok, yes, this makes sense as story.” Coming back to what first got me into it–I felt like story mattered a lot. I didn’t want to be frustrated by leaving a clue behind. In a mystery, that clue happens. Scully bends down to pick up something that a Lone Gunman dropped as he ran to vomit and sees the tiny needle-prick behind the ear of the man she’s autopsying. Hastings has some new fad that gives Poirot insight into a specific aspect of the puzzle. Without that, the story doesn’t work. And the stories written for Trail sat really well with the kind of mystery I appreciated, while having all the Lovecraftian elements I was looking for. The system itself made a lot of sense and I saw how I could use it to tell more stories.
How would you compare running and writing for Night’s Black Agents with Trail of Cthulhu?
This question made me stop and say “oh gosh.” It’s night and…different night, I guess, especially when writing for them. Running Night’s Black Agents, at least I’m using something that someone (even if it’s me) has already written. Trail has intuitive pacing for me. Even if I screw it up, I know I’m screwing it up. Night’s Black Agents, I generally have to remind myself “more explosions, more drama, more guns, more fights.” When working on Blood Coda, I kept trying to imagine it like an action movie from the 1970s crossed with modern action. I had to do a spy/action movie marathon before tackling writing for it. I’d like to do more NBA in the future, but I think it will continue to be a challenge.
How did you get into writing for Pelgrane Press?
I came at it from two sides. Two years ago at GenCon, I ran a Trail one-shot I’d compiled from part of Will Hindmarch’s Eternal Lies campaign, but only for friends. I sent some notes on how I’d pulled out a one-shot to Pelgrane for See Page XX. At last year’s GenCon, I volunteered to run Trail on the books. Pelgrane helpfully offered me multiple scenarios and I said “no, I’ll write something.” That turned into a scenario I ran at other events, which turned into a draft I submitted to Pelgrane, which was accepted with suggestions for lengthening and revision. I’m finishing up a final version of the new draft to turn in, um, tomorrow.
From the other side, it was a matter of knowing and talking to Pelgrane writers, expressing interest in the materials, doing my own writing for blogs and other things, and then being asked to write. Last fall, Kevin Kulp asked me to contribute setting material for TimeWatch and Kenneth Hite asked me if I’d be interested in doing a Dracula Dossier scenario. In Kevin’s case, I’d been a player in his games, playtested TimeWatch (as player not GM), and talked GUMSHOE with him. In Ken’s, I assume he’d read some of the stuff I’ve written and he knew of my interest from the Trail angle.
Do your skills as a game master enhance your skills as a writer?
I think so. Responding to things as a GM has shaped how I approach writing about them. When writing, I have a vision of how things will play out. But my very first game “The Perfect Score,” the players took a completely different approach to the situation than I expected. I realized that anything I wrote in future would need a lot more about what’s there and a lot less about expecting people to behave in X or Y way. I create the story by creating NPC events and the world in which the events occur.
That said, sometimes I get a little carried away with that attempted flexibility and need a good writer-side chiding. Ken’s notes on the first draft of Blood Coda included something like: “Change every instance of an NPC who ‘will,’ ‘would,’ ‘might,’ ‘may’ to active words.” That’s taught me to bring balance to how I write. If the players go to X location and talk to Y person, this is what they find and how that person acts. This is what interpersonal skills get that person to do, if players choose to apply them. The if, the flexibility, comes between segments and scenes. And perhaps that comes to mind first because it’s something I’m still working on.
Who would be in your dream role playing group?
Oh lord, is there a way I can answer this without sounding like a suck up? My local group is fantastic. Mix of designers, experienced playtesters, all-around friends, and Old Bay aficionados. People not in that group with whom I consistently enjoy being at the table include Kevin Kulp, Elsa S. Henry, Mike Shea, and Philippe A. Ménard (and ideally all of them would take turns running their stuff as well!). I know I’m missing people. People I’d never played with but would really like to include–the whole team at Pelgrane. Someday!
Is there anything in your academic background which informs your gaming?
As I mentioned early on, I majored in English in undergrad. That experience made me learn, among other things, what the nuts and bolts of a story are. Also Deconstruction. It was a wild ride. But I think in terms of gaming and especially of running games, I think understanding how a story works, techniques of foreshadowing, firing the Chekov’s damn gun, etc. really help make for a game where everyone has fun. That matters even more in a one-shot, I think, which is a lot of what I do. I’m also in Toastmasters, which is not just helping me with public speaking but specifically with storytelling. In fact, once I finish the main manual (soon!), I’ll be moving on to the storytelling one.
How do you think your gender has affected your experience of roleplaying?
I could talk about this all day, although I try not to too much. For the most part, I have good experiences at the table and in the community. I have strong biases for language which includes me (picking up my first Trail scenario and seeing the Keeper called “she” said to me “Ruth, they’re expecting you to run this.”) and I tend to play in games where the overall book–art, writing, etc.–makes me feel like being a woman in this game or world is an awesome experience.
But there are things that have happened which definitely influence how I engage in roleplaying and in the community. Some days, being a woman means I’m scared. Whether it’s of repeating experiences like the time a complete stranger at a table decided that our characters being friends meant he should start touching me, or of someone following me after a session (this one hasn’t happened in roleplaying but has happened at work), or of broader movements which target women for opinions as simple as “maybe sensible armor this time?” there are individuals and groups that make me pass on some opportunities from fear of being unsafe. It’s not a pleasant experience. I think there’s a lot less I’d have to worry about or account for or avoid if I were a cisgender man. But for the most part, I try to focus on enjoying, promoting, and writing things that continue to make me feel like I’m part of the community and I tend to meet great people through those games.
Finally, can you offer any advice to people who want to write for Pelgrane Press?
I’m assuming that these people are playing the games already but, if not, play the games and read the games. Try running your idea, see how it goes, then pitch it. Cat and Simon really don’t bite, I promise.*
*Not liable for possible futures in which Dracula finally infiltrates the Pelgrane’s nest.
[Special thanks to the people who suggested questions, used or not, on Facebook]
If you are interested any of these games, please email me with the game you wish to playtest in the subject line.
Before the Storm
System: Standalone, freeform
Author: Joanna Piancastelli
Deadline: August 15th
It’s the last few hours of the world as you know it. Tomorrow morning, the Stormsworn will attack, a huge army granted power by a malevolent ancient force. There’s no way out of the oncoming battle.
You sit in the hall of Castle Iriya, yourself and your small band of companions, the people you must now trust and rely on above all others. You all have your flaws, your secrets and regrets, things you ought to tell each other but never have. In these last hours of eerie peace, you have a chance to put that to rights.
System: Standalone, freeform
Author: Tova Näslund
Deadline: August 15th
A family drama set in a dystopian future. Humanity lives in self-sustaining buildings, large enough to supply hundreds of thousands of people. At the start of each month, an “employee of the month” is announced and allowed to move up a floor. On the other hand, a family that doesn’t fill their work quota are sent down a floor, to the even worse slums below.
In the tougher lower floors live the Witkins, a close family of maintenance workers. Over the years you’ve adopted a family motto: the Witkins don’t ask for help, they earn it. But you’re in dire straits, crippled with debt and due to be forced down a floor in the next five days. One of you has a means of escape – a promotion, through marriage. Do you all move down together – or do you split the family?
Before we plunge into the endless deluge of “Dracula Dossier bits we couldn’t fit in anywhere else”, let us pause on the brink and consider the utility of pyramids. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Night’s Black Agents offers two pyramid diagrams to help the Gamemaster. The Conspyramid is the organizational chart of bad guys that the player characters beat up until they drop clues to the next level; the Vampyramid lists threat-appropriate responses by the bad guys. (They’re both in this handy bundle of resources).
By default, the two Pyramids are only loosely linked. You might have, say, the ever-popular Russian Mafia gang as a Conspyramid node, and have Probing Attack by hired goon as an option on the Vampyramid, but the two aren’t necessarily associated. After all, it’s an international conspiracy and Night’s Black Agents is usually a jet-setting game. The Russian Mafia might be the go-to hired goons in Eastern Europe, but if the player characters fly off to Tokyo, you might want to probe them with some Yakuza instead.
Now, what if you’re running a campaign that doesn’t involve international travel?
What if it’s all in one city, battling hipster locovore vampires?
What if you’re playing Mutant City Blues instead, and the campaign involves the slow, methodical takedown of a big criminal outfit, ala the Wire?
(What if, hypothetically, you’d just binge-watched Daredevil on Netflix?)
In this setup, each node in the Conspyramid has a corresponding response in the Vampyramid. So, the Skinsky gang node in the Conspyramid lines up with the Probing Attack response. CPC Properties Offers a Payoff. The Conspiracy’s pet journalist in the City Newspaper is the one who plants the Frame Agent story, and so forth.
You don’t have to stick to the default Vampyramid responses either – think about interesting things your Conspyramid nodes could do to strike back at the player characters. For example, bad guys in the City Hospital could abduct injured or sick contacts or Solaces of the player characters; the Thing in the Morgue might Dig Up Dirt, resurrecting problems from the backstories of the PCs.
Tying Vampyramid responses to Conspyramid nodes means that responses aren’t necessarily one-shots. In a regular NBA game, if a Probing Attack fails, the Conspiracy automatically escalates to the next level or response (Hard Feint). In this setup, the Conspiracy can keep trying Probing Attacks as long as the Skinsky Gang are available. Similarly, the player characters can head off potential threats through decisive action. If they take down Welldone Holdings, then the Conspiracy can’t Freeze Their Accounts.
Keeping the action to a single city makes for a claustrophobic, intimately bloody chess match between player characters and Conspiracy bosses. Contacts and Solace are much more in the line of fire in this style of play, so Vampyramid actions that target them can be more common than in regular NBA globe-trotting play.
(And yes, The Dracula Dossier offers two new Vampyramids, one for the comparatively genteel Edom conspiracy, and the other for medieval warlord carnage, Dracula-style, but I swore that I’d hold off on the Dossier tie-in articles for another month…)
Night’s Black Agents by Kenneth Hite puts you in the role of a skilled intelligence operative fighting a shadow war against vampires in post-Cold War Europe. Play a dangerous human weapon, a sly charmer, an unstoppable transporter, a precise demolitions expert, or whatever fictional spy you’ve always dreamed of being — and start putting those bloodsuckers in the ground where they belong. Purchase Night’s Black Agents in the Pelgrane Shop.
This month, in Page XX, pre-order Gods, Memes and Monsters from Stone Skin Press, see some cartography from the Dracula Dossier, do a 13th Age trivia quiz and playtest some one-shot story games.
Check out the new Page XX now!
Convention season is upon us once more, and this month’s See Page XX sees us at UK Games Expo in Birmingham (booth P38 in the Palace room), and heading from there to Origins Game Fair (booth 709) in Columbus, OH, so please do come and say hi if you’re around.
Work on the Dracula Dossier has been keeping us more than busy, but we’ve found time to squeeze in some other projects. New this month, we’ve got the May edition of KWAS, The Spear of Destiny, now available in the webstore, as is the May edition of 13th Age Monthly, Eidolons. KWAS Vol. 3 subscribers now have the latest edition, Hideous Creatures: The Great Race of Yith on their order receipt pages – this will be available to non-subscribers at the end of May. And another two brand-new story games available to playtest, from our upcoming story games anthology.
See Page XX Poll
If you are interested any of these games, please email me with the game you wish to playtest in the subject line.
Heroes of the Hearth
System: Standalone, freeform
Author: Stiainín Jackson
Deadline: July 15th
Do you see them? Off in the distance? The heroes – the ‘adventuring party’. A thief, a fighter, a cleric, a mage – that’s the story, they’re off to do battle against some terrible threat. They’ll defend the villages by the way. They’ll fight fearsome beasts. They’ll find great and awesome treasure. And at the end of it … well, I guess they’ll go home?
Because every adventurer has a place that they’re from, and every adventurer has people that know them – many are lucky enough to have people that love them. Those people have stories too – what is their home like? How do they feel when their loved ones are off doing battle? What do they do in the face of this threat and how do they move on with their lives?
This game is about those stories and those people. They are the heroes of the hearth.
Nemesis 382: The Point of No Return
System: Standalone, freeform
Author: Alex Helm
Deadline: July 15th
We know that a black hole is a star that has collapsed under the weight of its own gravity, creating a well in space-time that not even light can escape. But what lies beyond a black hole? Would an object entering be simply stretched and crushed to death? Would it fall through into another universe as some scientists speculate? Or perhaps, as holy men and women suggest, would it come face to face with God? Nobody knows, and there’s only one way to find out.
This is the story of the Albert Einstein III, a scientific research vessel dispatched to the newly discovered supermassive black hole called Nemesis 382. As the ship edges closer to the event horizon, the crew must decide once and for all – how far are they willing to go in the name of science?