The Age of Despair: Young Heroes

So, I've started (for serious) a new gaming endeavor. I'm running Dungeon World campaign for two of my friends. The game is set in Krynn, the world of Dragonlance, at roughly the same time the War of the Lance happened in the actual novels.

The play thus far has revolved around the city of Solace, where our heroes grew up. The main characters are Via Letta, Jake's cleric of Gilean, and Marc, Kyle's ranger. both are human, and (if plans go according to plan) I hope they can introduce them themselves.

I'm also playing a side-game with Jake, revolving around Via's long-lost father, an explorer, adventurer, and ruin-delver who's "come out of retirement", so to speak, in hopes of finding his daughter.

We're playing in a dungeon crawl style, which is a new, rare thing for us. It seems to be going pretty well! I've got a few cool dungeons sketched out, and my hope is to bring in the advancing armies, dragons, evil cultists, and so on, leading up to some sort of conflict against the dark queen. We'll see, though!

More later, maybe! I'm excited!


City of Refuge: Power 19

1.) What is your game about?**
>>> It's about legends, torn from their homes. They've lost everything, including themselves.

2.) What do the characters do?**
>>> Struggle to rebuild themselves and reclaim their memories, then draw upon and challenge the conflicting drives of Light and Dark.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**
>>> The players throw their characters into conflict, and they seek to gain allies in the fight against Darkness. The GM strives to create an interesting, captivating setting full of potential allies and enemies; the GM challenges the characters and pushes them.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
>>> The setting is large, multi-layered, complex, and loud. It's a maze of people and things, a crazy mix of everything. It's a setting defined by Light, Darkness, and the Egos of heroes and villains.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
>>> The character creation occurs in-game, by testing your character and attempting to regain his memories.

6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
>>> In the early game, the game rewards placing your character into conflict as often as possible. In the later game, it rewards playing to the style of the character and walking the line between Light and Dark.

7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
>>> In the early game, every conflict gains something. Later game... TBD

8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
>>> TBD. Rotating focus player, other players do other things, and GM handles Darkness and the City.

9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
>>> It draws upon prior investment in characters that interest them. Rest TBD.

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
>>> The early game mechanics are very simple, generally a 50/50 chance of winning - the only thing that changes is the scale and scope of rolls. Rest TBD. Insert Madness-style death spiral for Light and Dark.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
>>> In the early game, the player never knows if he's going to win, but he knows he'll get something regardless - so it makes sense to drive towards conflict. Later game mechanics force the player to rely upon Light and Dark, but they must be careful not to go to far.

12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
>>> TBD

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
>>> TBD

14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
>>> A mix of sheer-awesomeness and style of the legends, and fighting against the opposed draws of Light and Dark.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
>>> Character creation (Remembrance) is a big part.

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
>>> The bringing back of old characters, because it's very cool to revisit old ideas in a new light. The setting, because it draws on a bunch of ideas I already like. The remembrance mechanic and ideas, because it allows character shaping in-play.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
>>> TBD

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?
>>> Probably release for free online, as a PDF.

19.) Who is your target audience?
>>> Mostly me and my friends, I suppose.


City of Refuge: Notable Locations in the Shining City, Part 1

Bat's Folly: The farthest point from the Light, near Ghosthill, Bat's Folly was the fourth and last gate. Built by a mad crusader in a dark black cape, this fortified mansion is said to corrupt the guardsmen stationed there; that's probably just a rumor, though.

Bladeshore: On the far side of the Great River lies Bladeshore, the third gate. The Light Brigade's smiths work here in a great furnace, and the walls of the fortress are covered in weaponry. Also houses the Light Brigade Barracks.

Commerce District: The main sales and manufacture area, it uses a strange combination of man-power, steam technology, electricity, and magic to produce a wide range of goods.

Dragonkeep: Past the Goblin Market lies the castle Dragonkeep, the second gate. Forged from the bones of the last true Dragon, it is an eldritch place, home to the Light Brigade's magical laboratories and training school.

Eternal Spring: The primary water source for the City, the Eternal Spring sits almost directly under the Light and gives birth to the Great River, as well as numerous other small streams and rivers.

Gardens, The: The food source for most of the City, this massive complex of gardens, parks, and farms lies in the center of the City, surrounding the Eternal Spring under the Light.

Ghosthill: The massive complex of cemeteries, crypts, and catacombs used to bury the dead of the City. Severely haunted, it lies between the Spires and Bat's Folly.

Goblin Market: The other major sales area in the City, the Goblin Market sells a variety of strange, unique, and bizarre items for a variety of strange, unique, and bizarre prices.

Great River, The: This river flows from the Eternal Spring and splits into two major branches, separating Bladeshore from the City proper.

Light Brigade Barracks: Dragonward of the Bladeshore, the Light Brigade Barracks houses the volunteer corp that trains to protect the City from Darkness.

Owlwatch: The oldest gate, Owlwatch is the planing and logistics center of the Light Brigade. This fortress holds the Brightscopes, magical viewing devices used to look into the Darkness.

ShadowScience Inc.: Holding one of the few power generators of note in the city, this company seeks to fuse science, technology, and magic to harness, control, and destroy the Shadows. They're housed not far from the Goblin Market. Their mission statement is to defeat the Darkness once and for all. And to make a profit. But mostly defeating the Darkness, right?

Spires, The: A massive living complex in sky-piercing towers. Generally a nice place to live... just watch your step.

Undercity: Near to the only dark place in the City, this maze of rooms, caverns, chambers, and so on lies under the City proper. Home to outcasts, thieves, and the semi-monstrous (especially those... allergic to light), it's a dangerous and wonderful place. Also, it'd be a great place for the Shadowed to attack, if only they had a way in, you know?

Wall, The: The triple-thick holy blessed steel-and-concrete-and-dragon-bone wall circles the City in it's entirety. At the cardinal points lie the four gates, though these aren't really gates in a strictest sense, since nothing gets in or out. Usually.


City of Refuge: Notes 1

Thanks to Jacob, I've spouted a few more ideas. These are just rough notes jotted down, to later be incorporated with the rest. (Everything here is by me, except the bit near the end labelled "EspynWislyn", which is Jake. Thanks J!)
Mind that it changes them physically as well as mentally. The starting state for a Faceless is pretty similiar to a Doppleganger in it's natural form, whereas the end result is essentially the character you are modelling, probably with some aspects changed or over-emphasized.

The Awakened are defined by their ego, their legend, their spirit. They are, to a man, larger than life.

So you might base your character on Batman, and he might be like Batman, but maybe his cape is living shadow or somesuch.

Well, the stuff at the end of rememberance is a start.
The idea is at first you roll a pool of dice to do anything important, only needing more successes than failures (4,5,6 is success).

So using more Spirit doesn't increase your chances of winning, actually, it just makes things bigger or more epic or what have you.

After all characters Awaken (have traded nearly all of their Spirit dice for Memories), there are different mechanics, where your memories make up your abilities.

I don't know how that'll work yet.

EspynWislyn (7:18:58 PM): You know, it'd be kind of cool if there were minor memories and major ones. Like, you start out remembering minor details, but then you have, like, major revelations that completely change who and what you are.

Maybe set a lock on dice spent? So that, in the first contest, you can spend 2 Spirit? Then more as you go? This would mean that bigger / more defining / more powerful / more important memories would come later.

City of Refuge: Lexicon 1

Ambiguous - A term for a Spirited character who straddles the line between Hero and Villain. Those with total Heroic and Villainous Drives within 1 of each other.

Awakened - Spirited who have remembered their pasts and been shaped by them.

City, The - The massive metropolis, the City of Refuge is the final home for all those whose worlds have been Devoured.

Darkness, The - The overall term for the Shadowed and the Sea of Darkness.

Devoured - Destroyed or changed beyond recognition by the Darkness.

Drives - The core goals enforced by the City upon the hearts of the Spirited.

Faceless - Spirited, newly arrived at the City. They must Awaken, or they will be Lost.

Heroic - A term for a Spirited character who embodies the Heroic Drives. Those with total Heroic Drives 2 or more higher than their total Villainous Drives.

Light, The - The spirit, ghost, element, entity, or force protecting the City from the Sea of Darkness. The closest to a God around here.

Lost - Those whose spirits have been Devoured. They are stereotypes, hollow shelves of their old lives.

Lost Worlds - The multitude of realms that have been Devoured.

Portal - A mystical doorway, the City is full of these. Keys, however, tend to be in high demand.

Sea of Darkness - The mass of Darkness outside the City, chaotic and all-consuming.

Shadow - A small, self-contained bit of Darkness.

Shadows, The - The whispers and intelligences of the Darkness. Sometimes synonymous with Shadow or Shadowed.

Shadowed - Living Shadows, or those corrupted by the Darkness to a point of becoming a Shadow.

Spirit - The shard of Light within the Spirited that keeps them from being Lost or Devoured.

Spirited - Those whose uniqueness, will, and ego raise them above the Lost. Divided into the Faceless and the Awakened.

Villainous - A term for a Spirited character who embodies the Villainous Drives. Those with total Villainous Drives 2 or more higher than their total Heroic Drives.

City of Refuge: Drives

All Spirited characters (both the Faceless and the Awakened) are driven by certain powerful, subversive goals. Decide whether your character is Heroic, Villainous, or Ambiguous.

For a Heroic character, set one Heroic drive at 3 and one at 2, and set one Villainous drive at 1.

For a Villainous character, set one Villainous drive at 3 and one at 2, and set one Heroic drive at 1.

For an Ambiguous character, set one Heroic and one Villainous drive at 2, and set one Heroic and one Villainous drive at 1.

Heroic Drives
Fight Back The Darkness: You strive to defend the city and any other worlds you may find from the Shadowed and the Sea of Darkness. You seek to expand the barriers of the City and slay the denizens of Shadow wherever you find them.
Make Safe The Streets: You desire to protect your new-found home and it's people from the madmen, monsters, killers, and thieves that lurk in the city.
The Return Home: You seek to find a Portal home or some other passage through the Sea of Darkness. Most likely, your home has been Devoured - you can try to reclaim it, but it'll not be an easy fight.

Villainous Drives
Corrupted: You've been tainted by the Darkness. The Shadows call to you, and your own flesh and mind betray your Spirit. You may think that you control the Shadows within yourself, and perhaps you do - for now.
In My Image: You seek the means to warp the Light of the City to your own ends. You believe you can impose your Spirit upon the Sea of Darkness to create a new world - one that fits your every whim.
Power Broker: You don't really even care about the Shadows, or the Lost Worlds. You seek to gain power, control, and prestige within the City (or beyond it's borders, as it serves you).

City of Refuge: Remembrance

You woke up in the [Oracle A], [Oracle B]. You're dressed, thank the Light. You may be equipped, not that you know what all of this stuff is. You don't remember much; for instance, you've got no clue who all of these other people are.

You are one of the Faceless. You have, at best, now, normal human capability or slightly above it. You will remember, and your memories will transform you. You have only your Spirit.

When you act, and it matters, draw dice from your Spirit and wager them on the contest.

If you lose the contest, return the dice to your Spirit, less one. Then write a short description (1-3 words) of what you were actively doing during the contest on an index card, along with the words "Memory of Failure".

If you win the contest, write down a short description (1-3 words) of what you were actively doing during the contest on an index card and place all of the dice you wagered upon it.