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Author Topic: (Cinematic Unisystem) Turning the Gygaxian world upside down  (Read 1229 times)

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Offline StattickTopic starter

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(Cinematic Unisystem) Turning the Gygaxian world upside down
« on: April 11, 2009, 05:29:51 am »
This is an idea that I've had rattling around in my head for quite some time... And I let someone talk me into running it on another site. But I'm not sure that I have enough players there, so I'm cross-posting to E now. This game will not be run here, but on the play-by-post forums at:

This is the direct link to the recruitment thread, but it is in the member's only section at It's really fast and easy to get a membership there though, if you want to propose a character. Anyhow, the thread:

This will be a game that utilizes a system, but the system is fast, easy, and I'll be making all of the rolls. It just lets us know if you accomplish what you intend - and there's a drama point mechanic involved, so if you decide that you WILL succeed, you can spend a drama point to make it so.

Knowledge of the system is not required. This game essentially starts off with with old school Dungeons and Dragons sensibilities - a knowledge of it, especially the second edition, would be helpful, but not nessisary. Ok, everything below is the pitch from the other site.

I'm not a fan of Gygaxian world builds, or dungeons. However, I've had an idea rattling around in my head for at least a year...

Imagine a Gygaxian world, run by an immature and not too bright GM. The world doesn't make a whole lot of sense. There may be a large city out in the desert with no supporting caravans or villages - of course, they should starve to death, but they don't. One can be traipsing through one of the thousands of dungeons in the world, open a door into a 10X10 room with no other exits, and find an adult dragon within - of course, the dragon cannot fit through the door. Gelatinous Cubes and other bizarrely impossible creatures fill the world. Trade exists in many areas without undue difficulty, but for some reason, whenever "adventurers" set forth away from the towns and villages, they are inevitably beset by all manner of foul beasts, seemingly drawn to them by the simple fact that they are adventurers (the work of random encounter tables). The geography of the land has neither rhyme nor reason. The cultures of the land likewise have no rhyme or reason, each neighboring land seeming to have developed in total isolation from each other, and each seeming to have their own unique technologies, as if they've all been plucked from differing eras of history - but they all share the same languages and gods. There's a nonsensical but objective alignment system in place. And strangely, mages of all variety cannot remember a spell once they've cast it, and so they must carry huge tomes around with them to constantly re-memorize their spells.

This is the world that we start with... But then, a strange thing happens. The head of the pantheon, the creator and most powerful God of them all, The Almighty Tim, disappears. This is what causes the world to turn... Logic somehow starts to be imposed on this Gygaxian world. Cities without support find themselves starving. Cultures start to influence each other. The geography starts to shift, to change, to resemble a real world instead of a haphazard collection of randomly rolled regions on a hex map. The system of objective alignments starts to break down... And in the dungeons, where all of those myriad monsters live together without rhyme or reason, they too start to starve. No longer forced by the will of The Almighty Tim to live without sustenance and live only in the dark tunnels beneath the surface, they must learn to raid the surface world above for food, come to find a new symbiosis with the other creatures they share their dungeons with, and must learn how to properly defend their homes from the sparkly eyed adventurers from the world above that are intent on committing genocide and looting every dungeon they can find. Meanwhile, the Gods themselves battle each other in the power vacuum created by the absence of The Almighty Tim.

Character submissions will be accepted with a description of your character, a bio, the race and class that he or she has, and a list of what you chose for non-weapon proficiencies. Include a wishlist of equipment you'd like. Since I don't have 1st edition dnd or an equivalent, and am certainly not interested enough to learn such for my purpose here, everything will be made with an assumption that this is 2nd edition AD&D. Any option, kit, multi-class option, and most major Demi-Human choices are valid. If you'd like something out of the ordinary, I will consider it, but I won't make any promises. I will double check and post an exact experience point total for those of you who might be interested in playing a character that takes a lot of XP to go up in level, or for those of you who are multi-classed... Nevertheless, assume for the moment that your characters will start at around the 10th level of experience. Do not worry about rolling any of your stats (such as Str, Dex, Con, etc). Do not worry about calculating your THAC0, Saving Throws, or hit points. If you are interested, but do not know 2nd edition AD&D very well, let me know, and I'll assist you. I will convert the character to Cine-Unisystem (with some additional Advantages and such taken from Dungeons and Zombies), and then each of you will have some additional points to spend on your character.

We will start with the stock familiar Vandian magic system out of the game for magi, and the similar system AD&D used for clerical magic. As I said, most options are viable. So, wild mages, specialist mages, specialist priests, are all possible options. And like I said, I WILL consider nonstandard builds. For instance, it wouldn't bother me a bit to allow a wizard that can use a sword. As the world "turns", we will be moving further and further away from the stock world as it is, even going so far as to abandon Vandian magic in time.

Anyone that wants to run a magic user: You'll have up to 5th level magic available to you. You'll need to pick your spells. Don't roll to learn them. Just pick them. I'll have to approve of anything not in the Player's Handbook. Don't worry about your "common knowledge spells" such as Read Magic, Detect Magic, Detect Alignment, Light, or Comprehend Languages (hmm, that might be it, but I'll have to check my PHB to make sure there aren't any more that I've ruled that ALL wizards know).

And once more: Be as creative as you want. The worst that might happen, is that I might say "no". So, if you want a skill, power, or equipment that would normally be "off-limits" to your character type, don't be shy about asking. I might say no, but I might say yes.

I'd rather not have any evil characters.

Sample Character:
Name: Kraven
Race: 1/2 elf
Class: wizard/thief
Alignment: true neutral
NWP's: Spellcraft, Ancient History, Tumbling, Blind-Fighting
Equip: Standard equip (thief's tools, spellbook, rations, dungeon and camping gear, horse, weapons, armor, etc),
Elvin Boots - 90% move silently, but as a quirk, leaves chicken prints instead of boot prints
"Ebony Short Swords" - a twin pair of short swords, made of dull, pitch black steel. They are +4 to hit and damage. They inflict double damage to creatures of light. Three times per day, the right sword can automatically dispell any light based spell such as Light, Continual Light, Faerie Fire. Three times per day, the left sword can cast Darkness. As long as either sword is being held, the character can automatically see in any kind of darkness or magical darkness.
Cloak of the Bat - (differs from DMG description) allows character to communicate with bats, turn into a bat 3 times a day, and summon 10d6 normal bats 3 times per day.
Familiar: A bat.

Bio: Kraven was the product of the union of a male human slave and a minor noble drow noble woman. At his birth, it was seen that there were two things vastly wrong with him. He was male. Worse yet, the pregnancy wasn't from one of the Mistress's concubines, but instead, her pleasure slave. He was just moments from death when the word of the dark goddess Lilith commanded the house's preistess to stay her hand. The child was to live - and be a blemish for the house, for the Mistress to suffer for daring to actually lay with a human slave.

Kraven's life was hell. An evil, subterranean society, Matriarchal with a hatred of both males, and halfbreeds, he was considered lower then even some non-Drow slaves. Kraven was trained as a mage, and in his spare time, he also learned the skills of a thief, more from necessity then design. If he had not stolen, he inevitably wouldn't have had enough to eat. Kraven eventually managed to break away from his society, and make his way to the surface world. His half human blood did him well there, and most took his dusky skin tone to think that he had a dark skinned human for a parent, not a dark skinned elf. He has been adventuring ever sense.

Also, I would rather have the party start off already knowing each other. You are a known adventuring group, that has already made a name for itself. You are members of the continent spanning Adventurer's Guild, which provides training to it's members, so they can advance in level. You've had not just your names, but the name of your group recorded in the Adventurer's Guild's roster, and as a team, have had your heraldry recorded. Unless one or more of the party decides that they are a noble, then the group's heraldry will be the only that you are permitted to wear - however, in most cases, your are not REQUIRED to wear your heraldry or colors. Exception might be declared if you are ever to participate in any large battles, but it's more likely that you'd be folded into a large group, and issued some other lord's tabard to wear.

The world is a hodgepodge of different lands, cultures, races, tech levels, and beliefs and tossed randomly on the map. So your characters can be virtually anything. An Ethiopian, a Hoplite, a Norse Berserker, an ex Roman Legionare, a Persian archer, a Norman knight, an Amazon... they're all perfectly viable character concepts.

Just one thing about the setting. The Almighty Tim used this as not just his gaming world when GMing, but also as his own personal fantasy world. So, there may be some sexism and icky stuff tucked away here and there, some adolescent fantasies made flesh - but, this too will change in time. Oh, and Amazons - yeah, they're pretty much the requisite lesbian stripper ninjas of The Almighty Tim's fantasies.