Godbound by Doresh
IntroOriginal SA post Godbound
That must be one comfy throne.
Heaven has fallen.
The world is broken.
The Throne is empty.
Are you a bad enough dude to sit on it?
Welcome to Godbound, the latest Kickstarter game by Kevin Crawford, who you might remember from other OSR products like Stars Without Number or Red Tide.
Like Stars Without Number, Godbound comes in both a free and paid version, with the latter giving you an extra chapter full of additional goodies, which in this case includes hypercharged Wuxia martial arts and giant magitek robots.
In a way, Godbound is a further escalation of Exemplars & Eidolons, and earlier Crawford title that both acted as a guide for layouting oldschool games and served as its own OSR game about mythical badasses who cleave through your typical Goblin horde like Dynasty Warriors characters. To accomplish this, Crawford adapted his Solo Heroes rules (a combat rules tweak that allows a single PC to tackle any oldschool adventure module with little to no modifications) to a normal-sized D&D party.
Godbound uses the same - if somewhat altered - Solo Heroes rules and takes the power level even further, starting the PCs off as demi-gods who are just a few level short of being able to eat Balors for breakfast.
How do you challenge a group of such powerful individuals? Well, how about if all of Creation is at stake? But let's start from the beginning...
New Gods Awaken - or why mortals shouldn't learn Venderant Nalaberong
Over a thousand years ago, mythical nations known as the Former Empires ushered in a golden age thanks to the help of theurgy, magic of tremendous power that can alter the very fabric of reality itself.
(It's your typical high-level D&D magic)
As these Former Empires were all living in nice, magically-induced post-scarcity societies and no longer had reason to wage war over petty things like land or resources, they quickly found other excuses to bash each other's hands in.
Why, if you think your culture is the bestest there is and that your neighbors can only benefit by seeing everything your way, they must be nuts or downright evil to resist the teachings of your glorious leaders who turned your land into a paradise, right?
Yeah, it's kinda like one of those polarising internet flame wars, except with armies and magical WMDs instead of petty insults and doxxing.
Seeing entire nations tearing each other apart in what would later be known as the Last War, some of the oldest theurges decided that they need to find the true way that humanity has to take, and they believed that only the highest authority could give them answers: God.
Now you see, Heaven isn't a place a mere mortal can just waltz through, what with angels having a strict "None shall pass" policy. So these theurges proved to be no better than the humans they tried to stop by doing what every OSR party does best: Hire a bunch of hirelings and go on a murder hobo spree through Heaven.
After wrecking the place and forcing the angels to seek refuge in Hell, they finally stood before the throne room. But upon opening its doors, they found nothing but an empty throne.
Has God forsaken them? Or was he nothing more than an elaborate angel hoax? Whatever the case, the theurges figured that if God is gone, they better make their own.
So they did. With sweet loot from Heaven, they returned to their respective nations and started building Made Gods, artifical beings of divine power that would embody everything their nation stood for.
Some just looked like humans (albeit ones of utmost perfection), and may in fact have once been a human, a shining paragon and champion of their people that got infused with celestial powers. Other Made Gods were hulking behemoths with monstrous or alien appearance.
While not every Made God was an aggressive combat monster, the ones hailing from more peaceful nations generally didn't last long when one of their more martially-inclined colleagues paid them a visit.
In their attempt to end the Last War, the theurges had only made it worse. Made Gods wrecked entire landscapes in their titanic struggles, and many returned to Heaven to either search for more loot or claim the Throne for themselves.
In the end, almost all Made Gods perished. They either killed each other, were slain by angels, or got annihilated as they tried to sit on the Throne.
But the damage they've caused was already irreversible. You see, the most precious treasure to find in Heaven are pieces from the Celestial Engines wondrous devices that keep Creation going. Some of them only overwatch a small region like a forest or mountain, while others regulate a law of physics for an entire world. Other, more rarer ones are even the literal heart of a world.
In their plain ignorance or deliberate attempt to harm a rival nation, the Celestial Engines got smashed without a moment's thought, until reality couldn't take anymore and the Shattering happened.
Heaven broke apart, as did entire worlds, their individual shards now floating in the Uncreated Night, the eternal darkness of non-Creation.
Wherever the Uncreated Night would come into direct contact with a world via a Night Road, it had the unfortunate tendency to vomit out twisted, Lovecraftian nightmares in an effort to destroy this unsightly piece of Creation.
Humanity has since lived in bleak times. Their little havens of reality are slowly failing as their Celestial Engines lose a bit of their power with each year. Help from angels is not to be expected, in fact they are actively trying to exterminate humanity for what they have done.
But something has changed in recent times. Some mortals have been blessed with the lost Words of Creation, granting them powers akin to a Made God.
Some of these Godbound awakened during times of crisis, while others just woke up one day with the power of a god. Even their origin is not certain. Have they been blessed by celestial fallout from a Made Gods carcass? Are they part of a law of nature that demands that the Throne shall not be empty? Or are they chosen ones gifted by God himself in an effort to restore Creation?
Whatever the case, the Godbound are the only ones that can repair the world and battle the immensely powerful creatures that threaten all there is.
It's OSR meets Exalted, with some inspirations from the video game series Dominons (near-divine beings competing to fill a power vacuum created when the only actual god vanished).
It's just not the same without skeletons.
The Rules of the GameOriginal SA post Godbound
The Rules of the Game
The average day of a Godbound looks a lot like a heavy metal album cover.
These actually come after character creation, but I'd like to cover these first to quickly highlight the major rule changes.
Like in every Crawford game I know of, the game uses descending AC values, eschewing ThAC0 by just having the character add his target's AC to his roll and checking if the total is equal or greater than 20.
Godbound also does that thing where the ranged attacks add the DEX modifier to damage, and light weapons let you substitute STR for DEX.
Like in Exemplars & Eidolons, skills don't really exist, and everything is done with Ability Checks. In Godbound's case you have a target number to beat that is equal to 21 minus your Attribute Score, which gets its own box on the character sheet. I'd probably houserule this to work more like attack rolls for more consistency.
Saving Throws are descending like AC, and they come in three varieties: Hardiness is your not-Toughness, Evasion is not-Reflex, and Spirit is not-Willpower. Taking cues from later editions, each Saving Throw is assigned two Attributes, and you always pick the one that offers the best modifier.
Now onto what the Solo Hero rules are all about : Basically, damage resolution has been tweaked so that Hit Dice act like Hit Points. So a HD 2 Gnoll can take 2 points of damage before being defeated.
Instead of reading your damage rolls normally, you compare it to a handy little chart: A result of 1 or less deals no damage, a 2-5 deals 1 point of damage, a 6-9 equals 2 points and a 10+ does a whooping 4 points of damage.
When rolling multiple dice, each one has its damage determined individually. Any static bonus attached to your damage roll is only added to one dice.
PCs in Godbound also come with a sort of built-in Cleave: If you overkill a target (aka deal more damage than you need to kill it), you can assign the leftover points to any other target in range, provided its AC isn't better than the original target's. AoE effects don't overkill.
If you don't feel like being a murder hobo, you can just deal non-lethal damage, provided you declare it so and it seems possible to do with the attack in question.
Some attacks - namely those by boss creatures, or some PC powers in specific situations - deal their damage "straight", aka you just read it like in every other d20 game.
A major feature of a Godbound and any Solo Hero is the Fray Dice (which in a Godbound's case is a d8 by default). The Fray Dice is a free auto-hit you do every turn. You just roll the die and apply the damage to to a single lesser foe (a being with less HD than you) in sight, with overkill and everything.
The Fray Dice not only means that any character has a baseline competency when it comes to dealing with hordes of nobodies, but it lends itself well to getting creative when describing your character's actions. Maybe your rogueish Godbound throw a bunch of throwing knives all over the place while duelling some necromancer. Or your wizard-like Godbound spends several turns figuring out an ancient door locked with a magical seal, all while casually blasting any cannon fodder that tries to disturb him.
Since save-or-die effects are very annoying for a Solo Hero, there's a way to survive that. But that's something for the character creation rules.
Never trigger a potential Godbound.
Like in Exemplars & Eidolons, Godbound are made from tougher stuff than your typical OSR guy, even if we ignore the Solo Hero rules for the comparison. As such, your Attributes are determined by rolling 4d6, dropping the lowest, and assigning the totals however you want.
Unlike many OSR games, there are a select few ways to raise your Attributes after the fact, though you can't go below the starting maximum of 18 (for a +3 modifier).
So, what kind of races and classes can you pick from? Well, races aren't really a thing, or at least they are handled much, much differently from what you're used to (but more on that in a minute).
As for classes, there is only the Godbound, though this class is quite customizable for an OSR class.
What makes each Godbound stand out from the others is his selection of Words. Each Godbound starts with three, and can spend a number of points on either Gifts (powers belonging to a Word) or additional Words.
Words are similar to Cleric domains in that they describe which concepts you have control over with your demi-divineness. They don't directly correlate to classic domains however. Alignment Words for example are absent, largely because Alignments don't exist in Godbound.
As such, Words tend to be a bit more on the ambivalent side. Sure, the Death Word allows you to raise undead armies and stare people to death, but you can also perform the mother of all Turn Undead. And while the Health Word is largely for healbot duties, it also allows you to shoot cancer at people.
Each Godbound starts with 8 Hit Points (aka a HD 8 creature), plus their CON modifier. Each further level ads +4 plus half your CON modifier (rounded up). Attack Bonus and Saving Throws are easy to keep track of as they improve by one each level.
Also like in Exemplars & Eidolons, each PC has a number of Facts (three to be exact). These are very FATE-esque descriptions of your character, things about his origin, profession and connections.
If you make an Attribute Check and the action in question fits to at least one of your Facts, you gain a +4 bonus to the roll. Magic-related Facts might also have you start out with knowledge of lesser forms of magic, which unlike your typical d20 magic is very limited in scope, and not too useful against worthy foes anyways because beings with divine powers are generally not impressed by petty cantrips.
Facts are also how you can bring in races into the game. You want to play as a dwarf Godbound who hasn't lost his dwarven ways after turning into a demigod? Well, just make up the "I'm a dwarf" Fact, and you're good to go. You gain the +4 bonus on dwarf-related tasks, and the GM might even allow you access to racial abilities. Who cares if you can see better in the dark or are good at finding hidden doors? You're a demigod now, it's not a big deal.
If you want to play as someting more unconventional like a Beholder or dragon, you can do that too. Just pick your Fact and get the right combination of Words and Gifts to emulate your monster powers.
To keep most of your divine powers going, you also have a pool of .
Effort represents your life force, willpower and divine energy. Your starting amount is 2, and even the lowest of dirt farmer has 1, though he generally has no way of using it himself.
Whenever you use a point of Effort, it is said to be "committed". Committed Effort typically returns to you after the scene/encounter in which it was used. If used to fuel an on-going effect, it stays committed until you end the effect. More powerful effects force you to commit Effort for a day, returning only at morning.
So what can you do with Effort? A lot. Most Gifts require you to commit Effort in some form or another, and you and similar powerful beings can commit Effort for a day in order to no-sell any failed Saving Throw.
Effort is also were we find Crawford's preference for limiting how much health characters can pump into each other during an adventure day, as magical healing requires one to commit Effort for a day as well.
Limited healing however is not a big deal for a Godbound that takes his time, for even a single day of resting is enough to restore all Hit Points.
Money and such is handled with a Wealth stat. The default starting value is 0, on a scale where 1 is the richest man in a village and 10 is an emperor. PCs also start with whatever basic equipment makes sense for them, though they can also start with a fancy artifact if they spent a Fact for it.
Generally, Godbounds themselves have little use for gold. It's pretty handy when dealing with mortals, but the only possessions worthy of a Godbound are those he earns as loot in ancient tombs and dungeons, or those he forges himself (which in turn requires him to loot the precious ingredients required for such a masterpiece).
Equipment is handled very lite, with weapons and armor coming in Light, Medium and Heavy variety, plus one- and two-handed weapons and a shield.
If you want to use DEX in melee, you typicall have to settle for Light weapons (1d6 damage), or you dual-wield, which works like a Heavy weapon (1d10 damage) that allows DEX.
Armor is pretty interesting in that the Medium (AC 5) and Heavy (AC 3) versions come with -4 Saving Throw penalties, with Medium affecting one and Heavy affecting two Saves.
Which Saves are affected? Well, that's up to the player, and how he describes the armor. Is it stiff and hard to move in? Heavy and exhausting? Or is it somehow cursed or otherwise inflicted with bad Feng Shui?
Every Godbound needs to start out with at least one goal. Pretty obvious, seeing how they have the world in their hands and Crawfords loves himself some sandbox adventures.
Godbound gain XP solely by accomplishing "worthy" goals, ones where the opposition actually puts up a challenge.
But XP is not everything for a Godbound. He must also spent Dominion, which he gains from heroic deeds and the prayers of his worshippers. Dominion is spent when a Godbound wants to create lasting changes with his powers, which in turn means that a demigod can't become stronger if he is unwilling to leave his mark on the world.
Each new level bumps up your Hit Points and various bonuses, and you also get a new Fact and points to spend on Words and Gifts. While there is no upper limit to your character level, the game is heavily built around a cap of 10 to prevent things from getting too ridiculous. Mind you that at that point, the average Godbound is a HD 44 monstrosity (albeit without the absurdly inflated bonuses you'd expect).
This also means that your base attack bonus maxes out at +10, adding a sort of bounded accuracy to the mix.
As a Godbound gains levels, he starts to automatically accumulate Gifts of the Apotheosis Word, which is the closest thing to hard-coded Class Abilities for a Godbound. I'll cover Words in the next one or two entries, so let's just say Apotheosis gradually puts more emphasize on the "god" in "demigod".
Drawbacks of being a Godbound
You thought being a rad demigod doesn't come with a couple caveats? Well, it does.
For starters, swinging around divine powers isn't a very precise art. As such, there are very few ways fo a Godbound to gain multiple attacks or even actions per turn (not counting the Fray Dice).
NPCs on the other hand often do have multiple attacks and/or actions to offer a challenge to the party, be it a big hulking monster or a badass-but-still-very-squishy mortal hero who probably needs those multiple actions to get the Godbounds' attention.
In a rather shocking twist for d20 in general, Godbounds can't into magical +x bonuses. Their own divine power is so strong that numerical bonuses from magical items just don't register. A Godbound will still want a magical weapon because it deals magical damage (provided the Godbound has no other means of doing so), but he won't care if it's a simple +1 longsword or a Holy Avenger. This is again far more interesting for mortal heroes in order to be somewhat threatening.
With simple bonuses out of the question, artifacts in this game focus more on granting unique powers and other effects.
Finally, Godbound play in Ironman Mode. If a Godbound or being of similar divine power dies, he stays dead, as no Resurrection spell can restore a creature of such might.
Fortunately, Godbounds have a few aces up their sleeves aside from being pretty darn powerful and badass. The faster natural healing rate was already mentioned. Furthermore, they don't automatically die upon hitting 0 Hit Points like most OSR characters. They will automatically regain 1 Hit Point after an hour, and can only die if someone whacks them again before that time. This also means that you can't really one-shot a Godbound, not that this is likely to occur.
Finally, once per level, a Godbound brought down to zero Hit Points can trigger Divine Fury, a second wind that partially restores their Hit Points and Effort. Seeing how this knocks them out for a while after a number of rounds equal to their level, Divine Fury is probably best used to get the hell away from whatever managed to drain all your health in the first place.
Example Character - Part 1
This game probably deserves a more serious example character, but when am I ever gonna find an OSR game that let's me build Nippon Ichi characters?
At least I'm not creating him during that awkward time he was a book.
Attribute Scores: 14, 12, 13, 13, 14, 10
I'll wait with assigning them for now, as will become clear next time when I pick his Words and Gifts.
- Badass Freakin' Overlord
- Demon from a Netherworld
- Rivalies and acquaintances with fellow Overlords spanning thousands of years
Weapon: Greatsword (Heavy, 1d10)
Goals: Rebuild own Netherworld (which probably went kablooey when those pesky humans broke everything.)
Next Time: Words and Gifts. Or how to beat Lord of the Rings like a boss.
Divine PowersOriginal SA post Godbound
Words - or rather the Words of Creation for their full title - are your domains, your power sets, your skill trees and whatever other fancy name you can come up with. With 26 to pick from, I tink I have to split this one off into multiple posts.
Not the first Word in alphabetical order, but I'll tackle it separate from the others, as it is missing a couple features of the other Words and really works more like a list of Class Abilities.
As mentioned last time, Gifts of the Apotheosis Word are gained automatically as a Godbound levels up. They gradually make him more of a proper deity by gaining various abilities relating to worshippers, starting with a small cult and eventually building up a state religion.
A worshipper is - little surprise here - an intelligent being that has pledged its allegiance to you. The pledge has to happen knowlingly and willingly, at least most of the time. You can threaten or pressure someone into worship, but you can't just wave your hand and mind control him to do so.
One can never be a worshipper of more than one Godbound, so a worshipper praying to a group of Godbound like the PCs as a whole (which the game calls a pantheon for obvious reasons) will instead become a worshipper of the pantheon member that best suits him, even if he is not aware of it.
A Godbound can always see if someone is a worshipper of him, but he can't see if he has been naughty or nice, nor does he get a mental notification if his worshipper count gets up.
It should be noted that a worshipper can't actually stop being a worshipper, and he has to find a new Godbound to worship instead. This is pretty important as Godbound gain a few ways to screw with traitors.
One can also worship beings of similar celestial power, like one of the few remaining Made Gods.
One of the niceties of being a worshipper is that your soul with remain with your Godbound upon death, and you will only land in Hell if the Godbound feels like being a dick to you, or if he gets killed himself before dropping your soul on a paradise (which will be covered later).
If you're not into being worshipped, you can instead choose to become a self-sufficient deity, ignoring the entire Word. But more on that later.
With all that out of the way, your first step towards Apotheosis already starts at level 2, when you gain Receive the Incense of Faith. This one does nothing more than to allow you to gain worshippers in the first place.
Level 3 gives you Sanctify Shrine. Now whatever temples and shrines your followers have can be sanctified, allowing you to perceive everything goin on there and use your powers as if you were present. As you gain levels, your worshippers must spend more and more Wealth to keep the place sanctified. A dirty little shrine in the middle of nowhere just doesn't cut it after a while.
The very same level also grants you the lovely Smite the Apostate, allowing you to instantly kill a worshipper or inflict him with an arbitrary curse that lasts for as long as you want. Basically the Gift for Greek and Old Testament Gods.
Level 4 brings us Hear Prayer, the Bruce Almighty Gift. You can hear the prayers of your worshippers, and can subtly communicate with them.
Perceive the Petitioner is a level 5 Gift that lets you see through the eyes of your worshipper. I can imagine lords and other officials to be really paranoid if someone of a foreign faith is around.
Level 6 unlocks Mark of the Prophet, which lets you play Dominions or Age of Mythology (if you play the Atlanteans), because you can now "upgrade" a number of worshippers equal to your level into disciples, with one acting as your high priest. The exact effect varies on whether or not you have the free or paid version of the rules (the latter offering more customization as that one has rules for creation heroic mortals), but suffice to say that this lets you turn your favorite and/or most loyal NPCs into mortal badasses that can actually hold up their own in a fight.
Level 7 ups the paranoia of Perceive the Petitioner with Attend the Faithful. You can instantly teleport to any praying worshipper and hang around for a scene, even if you're currently on a different plane of existance.
Level 8 brings us the final Gift of Apotheosis: To Bless the Nations. This Gift ties into the faction rules covered later, and it allows you to either buff or debuff the actions of a faction that is composed of a sufficiently large number of your worshippers.
The other Words
We built this temple on Words and Gifts.
A new Godbound starts out with three Words right out of the gate, and he has 6 points to spend on Gifts and additional Words. The most expensive thing to buy are of course new Words at 3 points (which is quite a bit as you only gain 2 additional points each level up). Gifts either cost 1 or 2 points, depending on whether they are a more basic Lesser Gift or a more powerful Greater Gift.
If you really, really want a certain Lesser Gift, but don't want the Word associated with it, you can purchase it anyways if you pay an extra point (which gets refunded if you ever gain the proper Word) and can come up with a reason for how you can replicate the effect with your current Words. The whole Word/Gift system also lends itself to reskinning and homebrewing.
So, what do you get form having a Word, aside from access to its Gifts? Well, each Word comes with a permanent effect or two, usually dealing with immunities or boosting an Attribute related to the Word (setting it to 16, or to 18 if it was already 16 or higher). Some come with fancier effects, but we'll get to that in due time.
Another handy thing you get are Miracles. Miracles require you to commit Effort for a day amd allow you to replicate the effect of any Gift of the Word you haven't bought yet, dispell enemy Gifts or generall ignore effects if your Word would work as a logical counter in that situation, smite foes and generally do a lot of stuff similar to a Wish spell. Breaking curses, splitting rivers, causing avalanches, the works. There's a whole page of stuff you can do with Miracles.
The downside of Miracles (aside from committing Effort for that long) is that their effects aren't as long-lasting as if you'd done it the proper way (provided the changes caused aren't plausible enough to support themselves, aka that avalanche won't magically retcon itself), but more on that later.
Gifts come in four different varieties: Constant Gifts are passive effects that are always active, Instant Gifts don't cost an action to use and can be used at any time during a round, On Turn Gifts are similar but can only be used on your own turn, and Action Gifts naturally require you to spend your action. Some Actions are further classified as Smite, meaning they are so exhaustive to use that you can't use the same Smite Gift two rounds in a row.
Most Instant and Action Gifts require you to commit Effort for at least the current scene, if not the whole day. On Turn Gifts typically act as ongoing effects you can turn on or off during your turn, committing Effort for as long as they are on. It is therefore wise to always have a few points of Effort ready to fuel the right combination of Gifts.
A common Constant Gift for tanky Words grants you a natural Armor Class of 3, like heavy armor without drawbacks. This doesn't stack with shields however, so heavy armor can still have its use if you really need an AC of 2. Also popular are Gifts that boost your attacks, like increasing the damage die or making every weapon or natural attack deal magic damage.
Gifts that enhance your normal attacks can do anything from maximizing damage, causing an auto-hit on anything but a natural 1, or letting you apply your Fray Dice to every lesser foe in the area.
Lesser foes have already been mentioned. In this category falls everyone with Hit Dice equal or lower than your level (or Hit Dice for other creatures). There are a couple exceptions, like how Godbound themselves never count as lesser foes, no matter how much more powerful their opponent is.
Area effects work a bit differently here in that some allow you to either automatically hit everyone in the area without saving throws, or you can choose to spare your allies as the cost of allowing the targets to save to avoid the effect as well.
With the exception of these area effects, many Gifts just automatically work on lesser foes, while worthy ones can usually resist with a Save, or no-sell with Effort.
Something that comes up in a lot of Words are Gifts that grant some form of Invincible Defense. This makes you and your mount completely immune from attacks or effects of a specific source, which is generally narrow enough for worthy opponents (they generally only really work against mundane effects) to avoid Exalted's Perfect Defense shenanigans.
A really nifty thing about Words is that each come with their own box containing a short story of a Godbound doing awesome stuff with the Word, followed with a little explanation of how the Godbound did all of that in game terms. I'll cherry pick the best to quote, though you might find other favorites.
These are Gifts that can be bought for any Word (except Apotheosis, of course), making some of them good candidates for Miracles:
Divine Wrath is your bread and butter Smite Action attack, dealing your level in 1d8 damage to a single target within sight in whatever way makes sense for the Word in question. This is your thunderbolt, your kamehameha, your limit break, you using the sun for an orbital laser attack.
Corona of Fury is the multi-target version of Divine Wrath, dealing half as much damage over a 30-foot-radius, using the above optional selective mode.
Both of these attack Gifts come with the caveat that they can't do anything against a target with the same Word as itself.
Effort of the Word increases your Effort pool by one. You can take this once for each Word. Influence of the Word works the same and increases your Influence by two. Influence is a sort of long-term version of Effort I will cover later.
Excellence of the Word can only be ever taken once, and it boosts one of your Attributes to 18, with possible (more or less visual) side effects related to the Word in question. So if your beefed-up CON comes from the Earth Word, you might have stone-like skin or something.
Aka Speed, aka Gotta Go Fast. This Word is all about being quick, so not only can you boost your DEX, but you are also incapable of being surprised in combat.
The very first Gift is the Constant Gift All Directions as One, which already lets you screw around with physics. You ignore rough terrain, can walk on walls or ceilings with no problem, and nobody can ever push you off of something.
If you want to emulate a super hero, you can either be Nightcrawler with Flickering Advance (teleport on sight range) or Flash with Mist on Water (ignore solid matter for a turn, which I guess can be explained by vibrating).
The Storm Breaks further focuses on your speed by letting you pay Effort to get a bonus round at the start of combat.
Swifter than the Sun is a real troll move in that it lets you move twice as fast as either you or your pursuer, whoever is faster. Walk Between the Rain grants you the above mentioned AC 3, and makes you immune against stuff hitting you on accident (ala a collapsing building will not hit you, but a trap will).
Greater Gifts give us All-Encompassing Presence, the On Turn combat version of Flickering Advance that basically let you be anywhere around 100 ft. of your current location during your turn, as long as you could actually reach that point.
Faster Than Thought is your main way of gaining multiple actions, as it lets you interrupt someone's action with an extra turn of yours. You can't spam it as it is a Smite Gift, and comitting Effort for the scene can add up quickly.
Untouchable on the other hand makes you pretty much immune against physical attacks as long as you keep committing Effort, as any foe need a natural 20 to hit you.
The Word of builders, smiths, mad scientists and even profilers. A Godbound with this Word can create most mundane objects in a single round if he has the required materials, and he generall counts as 100 workers per level for crafting purposes.
Naturally, most Gifts have to do with objects. You can repair them ( Faultless Repair), remote control them ( Command the Wheels) or analyze them down to their origin ( Mark the Maker). Playing alchemist is also possible with Transmuter.
Hammerhand is a nifty offensive Gift that turns all your weapons and natural attacks into magical 1d10 attacks, which also deal straight damage against constructs and inanimate objects.
To kick the Word's passive ability into high gear, you can get Ten Thousand Tools to chrun out an object per round while still being able to take another action, or you can replace 1,000 workers per level.
Greater Gifts include The Maker's Eyes, which works a lot like Sanctify Shrine except it doesn't require upkeep and works on every object you have created. Perpetual Perfection makes all of your creations immune against ordinary wear and tear, and any weapon or armor you make is automatically magical, with a +1 bonus for mortal users.
Reverence of Steel is pretty tanky in that you can not only no-sell hits from crafted weapons, but any clothing or armor you create will give you an AC 3 without drawbacks. You can also support allies with tailor-made Medium and Heavy armor that penalizes one less Saving Throw.
The tribe is starving, and the Lomites have encircled the butte.
She can get out whenever she wills it, but her people cannot
follow. At the edge of the outcrop, she looks down on the gray
gathered hosts and she raises her voice in a fluting song. The
sky is speckled with wings as a thousand birds dive down to
await her kindred's knives and fires. In the flurry of feathers
and talons, who will notice one more hawk soaring away?
The Word for all your Ranger and Druid needs. Thankfully, shapeshifting is handled quite easy in Godbound: You only gain the creature's movement mode by default, as well as an improved natural damage die based on its size (aka a bunch of dirt farmers won't get any more dangerous by being transformed into rhinos, though that is probably always good for some confusion). Some creatures might allow you to commit extra Effort to gain their special abilities.
As it is fitting for the Word, you can talk to animals.
You can communicate with animals from afar ( Distant Howl), call them en masse ( Scent of the Prey), gain perfect sight, hearing and smell ( Eyes of the Cat), and get yourself an Animal Companion that you can just instantly resurrect with Effort if it dies ( Link of Unity).
Red in Tooth and Claw gives you magical 1d10 natural attacks that negate natural protection, hitting any kind of beast as if it had an AC of 9. If someone thinks he can get you with mental effects, you can use Untamed Will can make you do anything against your wishes.
The Greater Gift Many-Skinned Mantle is your go-to Gift for shapeshifting, and you can even use it to polymorph others. Conquer the Beast Within lets you spare a defeated foe to later affect him with your Gifts as if he were an animal, and Lord of the Wild makes it so that animals will instinctively follow your orders, with no sense of self-preservation. Magical or intelligent critters can save to resist, and they aren't suicidal even if they fail.
In a distant castle there is a tower, and within that tower, there
is an iron door. Beyond that iron door is a chamber, and in this
chamber stand twenty strong soldiers. Beyond these soldiers
there is a sanctum, where a wicked lord lies on his bed. And
in this lord's chest there is an arrow, because neither distance,
nor castles, nor towers, nor soldiers can guard a man's life from
the arrow that Altan Khan shoots.
This is a Word you don't want to mess with. You are a master with any ranged weapon, if you bother with a weapon at all, that is. You can do all sorts of crazy stunts, but more on that in a second.
As passive ability, you always deal magical damage with ranged attacks, never hit anyone on accident, never run out of ammo, and gain the hammerspace-like ability of summoning any ranged weapon you've used before (which among other things solves the problem of throwing weapons not combing back to you).
Your enemies think they can attack you with arrows till you look like a porcupine? Well, Bar the Red Descent makes you immune againt normal projectiles, and even magical ones will at most do 1 damage. Doesn't do anything on spells and similar effects, though.
Bolt of Invincible Skill lets you win just about any competition by giving you perfect accuracy against unaware or inanimate targets (like the lord in the quote above), no matter how unlikely the shot is. By Committing Effort for a scene, you can also have your next attack hit on anything but a fumble and deal max damage.
Don't want to bother with lesser foes? Well, Feathered Tempest lets you always auto-hit againts them, and overkill damage can spread wildly as, I guess you do the Captain America thing of bouncing your projectile all over the place.
None Beyond Reach is one of the Gifts used in the above quote. All of your attacks can hit as far as you can see by default, and if you can find out someone's rough location (give or take a few feet), you have potentially infinite range as long as the target is still in the same realm as you.
Omnipresent Reach is another way to gain sight range to all of your ranged attacks. All of your ranged attacks also deal 1d10 damage (more than a ranged weapon could deal otherwise). You can even eschew weapons altogether and just fling around blasts or force bolts. Or you can be like Mami from Madoka Magica and just summon weapons out of thin air.
The Seeking Flight lets you mark a target, dropping its AC to 9 and letting you ignore any cover between it and you, as long as your shot can find a way through.
For Greater Gifts, you can use the Inexorable Shaft do max out your damage and punch through any non-magical obstacle that's in the way (another Gift used in the quote). Lord of That Which Falls lets you play Jedi by redirecting ranged attacks from just about everyone who doesn't have the Bow Word as well. Rain of Sorrow lets you murder the crap out of Mobs (a horde of cannon fodder enemies, abstracted to a single "creature") with straight damage and your level as a damage bonus, or you just hit ever lesser foe within sight with your Fray Dice. Arrows. Arrows everywhere.
Next Time: More Words. Command your allies, or be a dick with Deception. So far nothing for Overlord Zetta, but we'll get there in due time.
Divine Powers - Part 2Original SA post Godbound
Divine Powers - Part 2
It's Godbound time again, this time with some particularly lovely Words.
She has an army the way that other women have fingers. She
can feel them around her, a constellation of warriors awaiting
her will. Here and there the hot prickle of engagement warms
her senses; a moment's focus sends allies to these spots. The
scouts she sent down the pass shimmer in her mind with an
urgent request for her attention. She borrows their captain's
eyes for a moment, seeing the Patrian legionaries crouched
along the ridge line in a well-prepared ambush. An instant's
focus halts her vanguard as she loosens her sword in its scab-
bard. This will be a matter for her personal attention.
It's fine an dandy being a badass one-man-army, but sometimes it is just better to have the help of a couple loyal minions. This is the Word for such occasions.
As this Word centers aronud one's leadership skills, it boosts CHA and allows the Godbound to understand and be understood by any intelligent creature he comes across, which makes you one hell of a protocol droid.
Many Gifts of this Word only work on minions, NPC allies who have willingly and formally sworn their loyalty to the Godbound. This makes them a bit like worshippers, but they don't necessarily have to be ones (though there's probably a lot of overlap).
Gifts start off very thematic with Guards! Seize him!, which as you might've guessed is about making a small group of minions make a dramatic entrance at your call, as if they were just waiting behind that one door the whole time. This is actually done with some mental time travel shenanigans, as the minions were alarmed early enough that they made it just in time for you to give the actual command. This of course means they can't be too far away (10 miles to be exact), and they must actually be able to get to you on their own, and they enter through whatever way makes the most sense. No magical teleportation here.
The Lieutenant's Wisdom is similar to one of the Apotheosis Gifts in that it lets you borrow the senses of a group of minions you've marked before giving them an order. You can also communicate with them telepathically. If one of the group can provide a bird's eye view of the area, you can essentially command them like in a RTS game.
The Greater Gift Bearer of the Sacarlet Crown then turns on Grand Strategy mode, as you become automatically aware of any major events in your domain and can send out one-sided telepathic messages to your officials. You also get an extra point of Dominion each month to spend on your lands.
When things get bloody, you can count on the Greater Gift Invincible Iron General to beef up your troops. Your soldiers gain an extra HD, can use your level as their new Attack Bonus, and they're Morale gets turned up to 11, making them fanatical badasses. You can also give mental orders to your lieutenants and are always aware of the condition and location of all of your units. Think Total War.
The Soldier's Faithful Heart is a need passive you can grant to 100 times your level in NPCs. It works like some kind of beneficial geas in that the NPCs' loyalty gets boosted to such a degree that only magical means could force them to betray you, no matter what.
Aside from all these wonderful toys, there are also a few Gifts dealing with the general idea of leadership and obedience: Know the Inner Truth lets you profile a conversational partner for their true motivations. The Lines of Rule let you instantly figure out who's really in charge among a group of people, and you can boss around lesser foes as if you were their boss (though they get to save if this would be all too awkward). A Thousand Loyal Troops lets you try to boss around even worthy foes.
Finally the Greater Gift Thrall-Making Shout lets you give a command to a large group at once. Of course, they won't follow you if you're already fighting them, and you can't make the follow a suicidal command.
Hengest walks through the necromancer's army and the pale
bones of Raktian soldiers cringe away as he passes. Somewhere
on the far shore of this sea of dead men, a thin woman in pale
robes shrieks useless commands. The Godbound slings his axe
at his belt and raises a hand limned in black radiance.
That hand drops in dismissal, and with it crumples the army
around him. Their collapse blossoms outward from the God-
bound, a steadily-expanding ripple of quietus as they drop in
soft clatters of bone and rust. In moments, only the necroman-
cer and the demigod remain standing on the field. She wails
under Hengest's gaze and turns to flee, but a wave of his dark
hand silences her as swiftly as it has her slaves.
Yeah, you're basically a Super Cleric. Or a Super Necromancer. Or both. It's your choice.
Godbounds with this Word can use the command portion of Turn Undead at will, ordering them one Mob at a time. Worthy foes can try to resist, and even if they fail you can't make them destroy themselves.
You also make for a great detective because you can gain immediate knowledge of anything that is dying or has already died 100 ft. around you.
For the less dickish Gifts of this Word, you can boost the above detective sense with Keeper of the Graves, essentially scanning the area (now 200 ft.) for any kind of corpse and finding out who they were and how they died. If you keep Effort committed, you gain invincible defense against lesser undead. This let's you pull off the above stunt were you just walk right inside of an army of undead. This would also allow you to just casually stroll through a market during a zombie apocalypse.
White Bone Harvest is another Gift used in the quote. You insta-kill all lesser undead you see, and even worthy foes take your level in damage.
Summons to Day is a Greater Gift that lets you resurrect a mortal creature as long as it was not dead for more than a month, is still relatively intact, did not have a proper funeral, and its can't be already hanging out in a paradise. Supernatural creatures or even Godbound are right out of the question.
For something more dickish (depending on how you look at it), you can use Withholding the Mercy to allow willing living creatures to continue acting for a while even after they hit 0 HD, after which they drop dead. Oh, and anf anyone gets knocked out around, you can decide to havem them die or stabilize on the spot. Fun.
The sinister Gifts of this Word include Mantle of Quietus, which lets you automatically hurt lesser foes who hit you, by I guess rotting them a little.
A Pale Crown Beckons is your Animate Dead kind of deal, summoning lots of lesser undead or much fewer greater undead depending on your level. You can't make greater undead out of corpses that had proper funeral rites, and you can make your little army permanent by paying Dominion points.
Scythe Hand is a type of Gift that will pop up in other Words. These gifts essentially summon a type of "weapon" for you to use, dealing 1d10 damage at a range of 200 ft., using whateer Attribute Modifier makes the most sense. How exactly this whole Gift looks is up to you, so you can have it shoot out phantasmal skulls, or make skeleton hands burst out of the ground, stare people to death and all that fun stuff. This Gift also has the additional effect of always dealing at least 1 point of damage to a living or undead target, even if you miss.
The Greater Gift No Release is probably the ultimate dick move. You target any non-Godbound, and as long as you keep your Effort committed, the target can't die. Even if their entire body were to be ripped apart, they would still be alive, suffering immense pain and suffering until someone magicall stiches the body back together, or you feel like not being a dick anymore and stop this whole deal.
Reaping Word is a Greater Gift and a save-or-die effect. Lesser foes don't even get to save at all, while worthy ones can always spend Effort to no-sell it. You can target anyone within sight range, but you don't even have to see the target at all if you know its true name. Worthy foes are a bit hard to pin down, as you not only need to spend Effort for the day, but also can't use it for as long as the worthy foe is undamaged.
The most rogueish of all Words. It grants powers of stealth and generally messing with people's heads. It grants a boost to either DEX or CHA, depending on whether or not you feel more comfortable sneaking around or lying through your teeth.
For sneaky Godbounds, you can get yourself A Familiar Face. As long as a group is not actively looking out for intruders, you can perfectly blend in with them. You won't raise any suspicion, and you automatically know how to properly talk or behave. It doesn't even matter what kind of race the group is, so you can just blend in with the Drow. Or Aboleth.
Perfect Masquerade lets you take on the appearance of any humanoid you've seen, instinctively mimic his voic, mannerisms and whatnot. As long as you don't act OOC, only worthy foes and close relatives have a chance of seeing through this disguise.
Shadow Play lets you create perfect illusions, affecting all sense but touch.
Veiled Step makes you hide in plain sight. Worthy foes can try to resist like always, but lesser foes will just plain ignore you unless you're like right in front of them or actively draw attention.
The Greater Gift Walking Ghost is an upgrade of Veiled Step (refund included). Now lesser foes will only ever notice you if you attack them or just stop caring, and even worthy foes can only try to spot you if you're right in their line of sight or they're actively searching for hidden enemies.
For the more socially-inclined Godbound, try Deceiver's Unblinking Eye. As long as the other person does not have the Deception Word as well, you can tell if he's lying or trying to deceive you. And petty mortal illusions and disguises don't work on you any more.
Liar's Flawless Grace is the opposite of that Gift. Your lies don't register as such when someone uses magic or other supernatural stuff on you, and lesser foes will always fall for them unless they are obviously wrong.
The Greater Gift Conviction of Error lets you troll someone with a bit of paranoia, making them think that one of their beliefs has been a lie all along.
The other Greater Gift Impenetrable Deceit lets you troll on a greater scale. You claim for something to be false, and everyone within earshot range will believe you. This can include ridiculous stuff, but don't expect "I am not the moon!" to last very long once you stop committing Effort.
You have the power over rock, earth and soil, as well as its qualities of strength and durability. You can kind mess a bit with metal, but you're mostly an Earthbender.
Unsurprisingly, this Word grants a boost to either STR or CON.
Earthwalker lets you not only sense hollow spaces in earth or rock, but you and your buddies can also just walk through earth, rock, soil... really almost anything as long as it's not of a thinner consistency than mud.
Jewel-Bright Eyes gives you x-ray vision, allowing you to see through earth and stone. You can also see through any gemstone you have ever touched.
Mountain Thews gives you a brief burst of strength. Takes too much concentration to be used in combat, but it allows you to lift or smash just about anything up to a house or small ship.
Obduracy of Stone is your natural AC 3 Gift. You also become immune against stone or earth, don't suffer any harm from being buried and in fact you don't have to breathe, drink or eat at all anymore.
Rebellion of the Soil lets you collapse or outright disintegrate any non-magical structure or object (if it's not worn), up to a house in size.
Stonespeaker lets you communicate with the earth to get information from a specific point in the past.
For Greater Gifts, you can get yourself Builder of Mountain Peaks to pretty much earthbend, Fury of the Avalanche to create shards of stone you can fling as a weapon (and damage any lesser foe who's not flying), or Tremors of the World's Heart to cause an earthquake and wreck everything in a 300 ft. radius.
Godbound are pretty durable little buggers. You take it one step further by being absurdly resistant to physical harm.
Naturally, this means you get a CON boost. You also don't have to bother with eating, drinking, sleeping or even breathing.
How absurdly resistant can you get? Well, Amaranth Vitality grants you regeneration while you're still enough. It's not fast enough to affect combat, but you can recover all of your health in around an hour or so.
Body of Iron Will is another natural AC 3 Gift that also makes you immune against environmental damage, including radiation and the vacuum of space.
Defy the Iron lets you Commit Effort to no-sell physical damage.
Harder than This lets you adapt to become immune against a physical peril (like lava) or a special attack (like a breath weapon).
Elemental Scorn grants you immunity against one type of energy, which you can even share with the group by committing Effort.
For a somewhat different application of Endurance, you can get Untiring Inspiration, which makes use of your tireless constitution to gain extra Influence. You can also spend Effort to not only refresh your allies, but let them not worry about food, water or even air just like you.
For Greater Gifts, Fear no Steel grants you Damage Reduction on anything, and you can commit Effort for the day to become immune against non-magical weapons for a scene.
Unbreakable is a beefier version of Defy the Iron, making you immune against physical harm for a turn.
And finally we have Undying. You essentially function like a Tarrasque in that you will always come back to life unless someone offs you with the help of a Word, a Gift or some other divine effect.
The knyaz had gold. He had land, and serfs, and a walled city
for his own. He had a wife, and a daughter, and the friendship
of his wife's father. But he did not have a son, and that is why
his domain would be torn to pieces by his neighbors as soon
as his weak heart failed. The healers said his wife would never
bear another child and her father would be first for his blood
if he put her aside for another.
Jakob would give her that son, strong and handsome and
looking just like his father. He would give her that son and the
hope of an unburnt city, and then the knyaz would see that a
certain man died. Life for life, for the gods are fair.
The Word of harvests, sex (in the reproduction sense) and other fun stuff. Though like Death, you can also mess with those things in a bad way.
As a passive effect, you can boost your CON, gain perfect control over your reproduction cycle, and you become immune against wooden objects and any kind of plant-based monster or poison.
Birth Blessing is a pretty multi-purpose Gift. Want to make someone sterile? Induce a miscarriage? Optimize the child a bit, like getting rid of birth defects? Or how about a virgin birth? This Gift does it all.
A Second Spring is a neat little healbot Gift that grants instant recovery to allies in sight, healing 1d6 + the Godbound's level in hit points. Doesn't sound like too much, but you the targets don't have to commit Effort to be healed. You do have though, limiting the amount of healing you can do per day.
Seeds of Death on the other hand lets you shoot cancer at people (damit I though that was in the Health word). It's the same 1d10 over 200 ft. deal as the Scythe Hand of the Death Word. Its special effects are that the first use of this Gift in combat is completely subtle in its appearance and effect. It's only in the following rounds that the tumors show up (yikes). Lesser foes hit by this will die of cancer in 1d6 months unless healed by magical means.
A Sense of Ash is a neat utility Gift that lets you sense whatever plagues, curses and other nasty things are going on in any given area, plus whoever might be behind this. If you come across a creature that can spread diseases, you not only recognize it as such, but also know what kind of disease it can spread.
Touch of the Green Restraint tries to immobilize foes in a 50' radius with surprise vines. Lesser foes thus bound will all be hit by the fray die, and bound foes brought to 0 HD can be either merely immobilized or outright crushed.
Withering Curse lets you make several acres worth of land barren for a generation (unless dispelled with this very same Word). You can also turn wood into ash and seriously damage plant monsters.
Greater Gifts of this Word include Cornucopian Blessing, which lets you turn a container full of agricultural goods into a nifty artifact that can vomit out several tons of said goods without running out, for as long as you keep that Effort committed.
Unending Abundance is the polar opposite of Withering Curse in that it makes the area super fertile, which can be put to good use by the faction controlling it.
For ultimate dickery, you can use Sever the Line to not only make the target sterile, but automatically damage all of his offsprings (excluding those you wish to spare). The target's direct children suffer 1d12 damage, with the die being reduced for each further generation.
A pretty flashy Word that is all about burning stuff. Though you can also undo said burning, if that's more your thing. You can also mess around with intense feeling for a more subtle approach.
This Word grants not only immunity to fire and sword, but lets you use fire as a magical weapon for free, with 1d10 damage and a range of 50 ft. Fire bolts? Fire whips? A really, really long fire sword? You decide.
Consuming Gaze lets you turn stuff on fire till nothing but ash is left, even if the object is non-combustible. Like similar object-destroying powers this one doesn't work on worn stuff.
The opposite of the above is Give forth the Ashes, which unburns the same amount of stuff each round, repairing objects and healing fire damage, though this can't resurrect the dead.
Firestorm lets you basically summon a D&D fireball from above, except the impact point can be anywhere within sight and the radius is 100 ft.
Firewalker lets you sense nearby flames, teleport from flame to flame and take your allies with you.
Master of the Furnace is is pyrokinesis. You can mess around with any flame in sight, and set fire to flammable objects.
Nimbus of Flame grants you a heat aura that damages anyone who attacks you in melee.
Greater Gifts include Burning Rebuke, a stronger version of Nimbus of Flame that applies your Fray Die to anyone (including worthy foes!) who attacks you with anger or passion. Only mindless or disciplined foes can avoid this damage.
Cinder Words lets you set people or objects on fire with words, dealing your Fray Die to any lesser foe within earshot range and setting one object on fire per round.
Seering Blade upgrades your free fire weapon to the standard 200 ft. range, and anyone killed by it explodes, dealing 1d6 damage to anyone within 20 ft.
Next Time: Even more Words. As for Zetta, he obviously gets the Command Word, seeing how he spends the majority of his own game ordering his "monkeys" around. Endurance is also a good fit as Overlords are very resilient and are never really portrayed as requiring actual armor. Only one more Word, and he can spend some points on Gifts.
Divine Powers - Part 3Original SA post Godbound
Divine Powers - Part 3
Now for another set of Words, both strange and straightforward.
The Buyer of Plagues stood on the bedar's deck, a merchant's
slate in one hand and a piece of chalk in the other. The pirate
captain lying on the deck was bound at hand and foot, the
cable that tied his ankles snaking over the ship's starboard side.
The Buyer smiled at the sobbing man, and spoke.
"My sister's navigator, Indah."
The six men on the port side hauled on the cable, and the
pirate went over the starboard side with a shriek. The men on
that side paid out the rope until its prisoner was somewhere
under the bedar's keel, and then they began to sing.
Port and starboard heaved in rhythm, the old Kasirutan
shanty singing of home and gold and foreign girls, sweating
backs heaving to and fro as the pirate was sawed against the
ship's keel and the broken shells of the barnacles beneath. They
sang for twenty verses and had started a second time when
they finally sawed through.
The port-side men had the bigger piece left when they
pulled in the line. The Buyer stepped forward to kick it into
a human shape again, and the first breath of the resurrected
pirate chief was a scream.
The Buyer waved the crew toward a fresh coil of rope and
chalked another mark on the tablet.
"My sister's bosun, Rakti…"
The healbot Cleric Word. Heal people, cure diseases, neutralize poisons... or be a bit more nefarious as the lovely fellow in the above quote, though your choices for that are limited with this Word.
Aside from a CON boost, you are so healthy that you are immune against diseases and poisons, and you can also instantly diagnose them on others.
For typical healbot duty, there's Ender of Plagues. The heal spell to end all heal spells, this little Gift cures all diseases and poisons in sight. If you commit your Effort for the day instead of the scene, this healing effect extends to a half-mile radius, penetrating any wall or other obstacle. You also immediately become aware of any curses or other sources for disease or poison.
Flesh made True lets you play Jesus, as you can instantly cure blindness, crippled legs, missing limbs even and really any physical defect you have. Doesn't heal any Hit Points, though.
Intrinsic Health is a simple passive that permanently boosts your maximum Hit Points based on your Level. Words like Endurance can probably get away with grabbing this one even without the Health Word.
Merciful Gaze lets you stare Hit Points back onto a target (2d6 + Level). The target has to commit Effort for the day, and NPCs and mere mortals can only be healed once per day from this Gift (also probably in general as most mortals have only one point of Effort)
Vital Furnace has you no-sell hits like Alucard. Any damage you suffered since your last turn is just gone. Doesn't help you if that damage was enough to kill you, though.
For Greater Gifts, Burning Vitality can either give your Regeneration until your back to max health, or can slightly heal any ally around you (which they don't have to pay Effort for) and ressurect the recently deceased.
Lifegiver is a more focused resurrection spell, and it also grants your a permanent aura that causes all nearby allies to automatically stabilize. The former effect only requires that at least some bits of the body are left, while the latter requires the body to be relatively intact.
More evil applications of this Word consist of the Lesser Gift Plaguebringer (afflict someone with a disease of your choice) and the Greater Gift Deplete Health (cut someone's health in half like the Demi spell from Final Fantasy, though this "damage" is not lasting and will disappear after the fight).
If you like Lord-of-the-Rings-style montages of dudes wandering through breathtaking scenery, this Word is the epic version of that. You can pretty much "beat" Tolkien's classic tale in a session.
Many of these Gifts only work when you're traveling from one location to the other. They can get you to a dungeon, but don't help you with the crawling.
Unsuprisingly, Godbounds with this Word always know where they are and never get lost. Travelling is also such a part of your being that you can use it to replace sleeping and eating.
Dust at your Heels is a good way to troll pursuers. As long as you and your buddies keep moving, you will always be faster than them.
Know the Path is basically magical Google Maps, as you always now the best way to reach your destination. Your "travelling instead of sleeping/eating" ability also spreads to your travelling companions, which offers great synergy with the above Gift.
Master of the Key is actually useful for dungeon crawling, as you can instantly deal with any sort of mundane trap, lock or seal. Committing Effort lets you do this with magical stuff.
Opening the Way creates "holes" in a location's security to allow you and your group to safely enter. You have to enter a city besieged by a huge army? Now you can just walk through the camp of the besiegers, with their guards being suspiciously absent on your route.
Swift Progress not only protects your group from climate and similar effects, doubles your movement rate, but also lets you treat any terrain as flat ground, including mountain ranges and oceans.
Untroubled Passage simply makes it so that your travel won't be hindered by mundane enemy encounters or bad weather. The only ones with a chance of disturbing you are worthy foes (like Nazgul).
Greater Gifts give us The Exodus Road, which simply upscales the amount of people you can affect with your gifts to a ridiculous degree. The Greek needed the Trojan Horse to sneak into Troy? You could just have the entire army stroll into the city (the guards sure will have a hard time explaining how they missed that.
On the other hand, if you end up having to abandon a city, you could have the entire population flee over the seas to our allies. By foot.
The Hour of Need is a bit like "Guards! Seize Him!" in that it retroactively causes a group of allies to arrive just in time. This one can summon allies that are a week's journey away, and it explicitly mentions that this Gift can just mess with causality to achieve its effect.
The Path of Racing Dawn lets you and your group move at 100 miles per hour while travelling, unopposed by any sort of terrain. This most likely means you're flying, but you could also end up becoming intangible or something.
The Word for chess masters and other types of masterminds. You can't see into the future or uncover ancient mysteries whose last traces have vanished long ago, but you can still do a lot that gives you plenty of bragging rights. Like getting exclusive intel from your GM.
As an inherent ability, you get to boost either INT or WIS.
I should also point out that the universal attack Gifts Divine Wrath and Corona of Fury can be purchased with any Gift, even abstract ones like this. When fighting dudes, you can literally blow their minds.
The Best Course lets you get a sentence of information for accomplishing your current goal, and it can only be used again if you've made use of the information or switch your goal.
The Best-Laid Plans lets you better prepare for any plan, as the GM has to tell you the biggest threat or complication for said plan you don't already know about - and only the biggest one. You now know that the dungeon is guarded by a Beholder? Well, turns out there are also a lot of Gelatinous Cubes.
Excision of Understanding lets you make someone forget a specific thing until they relearn it or you stop committing your Effort. You can sadly not depower a spellcaster, but you can make someone forget his mother tongue. Or his knowledge about his own profession.
A Truth that Burns is an insidious move in that it lets pick a target and uncover the piece of knowledge it least wants you to know. As if people in power didn't already have enough reasons to be paranoid towards Godbound.
The Unveiled Truth allows you to get a short answer to any question, as long as the answer wouldn't require knowledge that is either gone completely or kept a secret by anyone in the know.
If you want to check back on what's going on a with a place you've visited before, but don't feel like getting there yourself, the Gift A Word Far Off lets you quickly gain the most relevant bits of information of any current events going on there.
Disclose the Flaw is a Greater Gift that lets you scane a target like a Blue Mage from Final Fantasy. Not only do you know its Hit Dice and Effort, but also any weaknesses, including the secret ones.
Irrestible Query makes you answer the GM any question about a past or present event.
And finally we have The Omniscient Scholar, which turns you into the anthropomorphic personification of the Akashic Records. If a piece of knowledge is known to any mortal sage or scholar, you know it as well, and you automatically succeed at any intellectual task that can be tackled by a mortal.
"Please, gospodars. You should not frighten a girl with such
lewd talk." Sveta spread her hands as she backed away from
the trio of drunken serfs, silently cursing herself for being so
careless. The knives and sticks the louts held were of no impor-
tance, but she couldn't afford to leave unexplained bodies this
close to the border. Now would be a good time for a witness.
A watchman? This stinking mudhole had no such thing, but a
respectable goodwife… like the one who just peered down the
alley mouth. Now to finish it quickly, before the woman ran.
The goodwife's hands flew to her mouth as she took in the sight
of the ruffians and the slight blonde girl they were closing on.
She did not even have time to scream, however, before one of
the serfs squealed and clapped the kidney where his comrade's
careless knife had stabbed him. The third jerked around reflex-
ively at the cry, and the stick he carried sent its haft into the
groin of his comrade, doubling him over. He stared stupidly
at the writhing men as Sveta hurled a pebble at him. It was his
misfortune that the stone cleanly hit his right eye, crushing the
orb and leaving him shrieking and clutching his face.
Is probably the most subtle of Words. You don't really do flashy effects, you just cause things to happen in your favor.
Godbounds with this Word have the unique ability to roll a d20 once per day, keep the result in reserve, and use it to replace the result of a single d20 roll done by you or anyone else.
For hilarious hijinks, you can curse a single target with Blighed Luck, causing all sorts of non-fatal misfortune. For more specific effects, they gain the equivalent of a 5th edition disadvantage on their attack and saving throws (aka roll two d20 and pick the worse result).
Nine Lives lets you reroll any save or hit roll that would've killed you once. And no, you can actually pull this off more than nine times in total.
Salting away the Luck lets you reroll any die rolled while doing something of importance. Unlike many reroll abilities, the first result is kept in reserve for as long as you keep the Effort committed. This pretty much works like the innate Word ability, except you have to use it on others, and you can keep an die size in reserve (though you can only replace someone else's result if their die has the same number of faces).
Spun Fortune forces a reroll for a target as long as you are aware of the action that caused the roll.
Unmarred Beneficence grants natural AC 3 through sheer luck. If some bad effect targets a random member of the group, you will never be chosen.
The World Against You is weaponized slapstick, causing 1d10 damage at up to 100 ft. Mortals and other mundane beings can't figure out that you are the behind all of these crazy misfortunes.
Greater Gifts of Luck give us By Chance, with which you can cause any event to happen as long as it is probable. Impossible Victory by contrast lets you just automatically achieve your main goal on any conflict through sheer luck, though you can only use this Gift once ever. Thankfully includes a refund.
Unfailing Fortune is a bit tamer in that it merely allows you to reroll any natural 1. Oh, and you can decide the outcome of any sort of gambling or game. People will hate playing Monopoly with you.
Self-Willed's short legs were tired of walking and his back was
tired of the pressmen's lash. Why the Order recruiters had
even seized a dwarf like him was a mystery, but anything was
better than the misery of home. Elder Impiety had threatened
to report him to the eugenicists the next time the red-robes
came around, and so when the recruiters had descended on
the fields, Self-Willed had run just slow enough to be caught.
But that was three days of marching ago and now they were
in the foothills, far away from Stiflers and red-robes and any-
one else but twenty shackled recruits and ten thin pressmen
of the Order of Reason. It was far enough. It was time to go.
His manacles shattered in hot steel fragments when the
dwarf spread his thin arms. A shard flew through a pressman's
skull in a fountain of gray matter and another man was split
in two by a sweep of the short steel chain. Self-Willed's small
fist went through the third one's belly to grip his spine, and
the pressman was still dimly aware when the dwarf used him
as a club to crush his comrade. The other six ran.
Long legs wouldn't help them.
The Word for those who want herculean strength to accomplish impossible feats of strength. Or just rip and tear stuff.
Taking cues from AD&D's obsession with high STR scores (aka your STR 18/xx shenanigans), this Word is the only one that can boost an Attribute beyond 18, in this case raising your STR to 19 for a +4 modifier. And even without any of the actual Might Gifts, you become the worlds greatest weight lifter, capable of lifting or smashing anything possible by a human.
Of course you want to be better than a human, so take your pick:
Descent of the Mountain lets you throw anything you can lift to any point within sight. Realy large stuff adds a -4 hit penalty, but it also causes a 1d12 area attack.
Falling Meteor Strike lets you concentrate to punch 10 ft holes into objects. You can use it for free on non-magical stuff, but have to commit Effort to do the same to magicla objects. Requires too much concentration to be used in battle, but if you happen to use it on an immobile target, the results aint pretty (your level times four in damage, which I think makes it the highest damage attack period, safe for blasting Mobs)
Fists of Black Iron turns all of your unarmed and weapon attacks into magical ones. All of your one-handed weapons also deal as much damage as a two-handed one (aka 1d10), while two-handed attacks get bumped to 1d12. The latter also includes unarmed attacks made with both hands, making you one badass Captain Kirk.
Shoulders wide as the World lets you pick up anything up to warship size, ignoring those pesky laws of physics that would cause the object to either break apart or push you into the ground. You sadly can't use it as a weapon, but it doesn't slow you down at all.
Stronger than You works exactly like it sounds: if you're in any kind of STR-related contest with someone else, you always win (unless your opponent also has this Gift, in which case you just roll it out normally). You can even grant this effect to others for one action, which is very handy to get allies out of grapples. Struggling with a Godzilla-sized kraken? Well, not any more.
Surge of Strength really puts on the hurt as you can maximize a single STR-related damage roll. Like the above Gift, you can also grant this effect to an ally.
Leap the Moon is a Greater Gift that turns you into either the Hulk or an anime character, as you can jump to any point within sight, without suffering falling damage in the process. You're limited to a total of 10 miles per hour, but it allows you to punch flying opponents in the face.
Loosening God's Teeth turns a single armed or unarmed attack of yours into straight damage. Can't be boosted further with other Gifts (like the maximize damage Gift above), but you punch so hard that even a miss deals normal damage.
Thews of the Gods is a suped-up version of Shoulders wide as the World. Now you can pick up buildings or smash through any non-magical substance as part of your movement. You're the Juggernaut. Or the Kool-Aid Man.
Another rogueish kind of Word, this time focusing on stuff like sight or sleep. It's like a Shadowdancer in parts, except better executed.
As an inherent bonus, you gain perfect Darkvision, don't need to sleep, and never wake up others by accident - which is pretty handy for a ninja demigod.
Damn their Eyes is a neat little debuff that lets you blind people, penalizing their melee attacks and making them straight up useless for ranged combat (unless they happen to have some supernatural sense). Lesser foes stay blind for as long as you want (no Effort required), while worthy ones recover after the end of the scene. Instead of blinding them completely, you act mor subtly and only make them blind towards a particular person or object. Nice to sneak part a guard, but more than one become a problem as the blindness goes away if someone else points out the person/object for them.
The Darkling Stairs is a very Shadowdancer-esque ability that lets you effortlessly move over vertical surfaces if its dark enough. The effect still lingers for a round if you come across a bright light, giving you time to grab onto something or hide.
Knives of Night is your 1d10 over 200 ft. attack, allowing you to turn the darkness itself into weapons. Knocking someone out with this effect allows you to either kill them outright, permanetly blind them, or just put them to sleep.
A Road of Shadows allows you to teleport via shadows, covering up to 1 mile at a time for a maximum of 10 miles per hour.
The Still Silence of Sleep is basically a Sleep spell with a 50 ft. radius and sight range, and the added bonus of you getting to choose what they'll dream about. As a much more useful bonus, you can also communicate with your pantheon buddies and other close allies through dreams.
Welcoming the Dusk surrounds you in darkness up to 30 ft. in radius. It moves with you and doesn't hinder your own vision in any way. The darkness can also have any shape you desire, allowing you to cosplay as a Nightwalker or similar critter.
Greater Gifts bring us A Darkness at Noon for some Castlevania flair, shrouding an area with a radius of 1 mile per Level in eternal night - with a moon phase of your choice! You could also do the opposite and greate an area in daylight, complete with the sun. You can also enchant any sleeping lesser foes to dream a dream of your choice and stay sleeping unless physically harmed, which is pretty handy for sneaky actions.
(The Gift is a bit confusing as it doesn't mention how long it lasts, but then again the default for these types of actions is "Lasts as long as you keep Effort committed")
Flesh of Shadows turns you intangible. You can't affect the real world, but neither can it. Only magical attacks can harm you.
A Speaker in Dreams lets you use dreams to communicate with anyone you've ever seen before. You can also spy on their dreams if you're into that.
The Word of heart and emotions, aka the power of all magical girls and that one Planeter everyone makes fun of.
Naturally, this Word grants you a CHA boost. But what further powers await our divine Princess Tutus and Ma-Tis?
For starters, Banner of Passion lets you infuse anyone in sight or earshot range with a strong emotion of your choice, to for example instill your minions with courage, or just start a party.
It should be noted that this and other Passion Gifts are a lot more fuzzy than say Command Gifts. Since emotions are so powerful, you can only nudge people towards one, instead of dictating their exact reactions.
Fashioning a Friend turns the target into your BFF. This works even if it would make no sense for the target to be your BFF, unless you actively show your true colors towards him. Worthy foes get to save (and no-sell with Effort) as usual, but lesser foes are BFF-ified without fail.
Follow the Threads lets you magically profile someone, learning general information about a target's most significant acquaintance, justby looking at him for a round.
Heart of the Lion makes you immune against fear and any other unwanted emotion-altering effect. You can also temporarily spread this immunity as an aura.
Snuff the Heart's Candle is the opposite of Banner of Passion. Instead of infusing someone with a specific emotion, you take it away instead for as long as you want. You can erase the emotion entirely (to say make someone completely fearless), or only against a specific subject (if you're in a love triangle and feel like cheating).
Terrifying Mien has you instill so much fear that NPCs must make an instant Moral check (with a penalty for lesser foes). NPCs themselves can't use this Gift, as PCs are just immune against it.
The Greater Gift A Heart like Clay is like fuzzy mind control, letting you rewrite the target's emotions and feelings towards anything.
Infectious Passion is a bit like Banner of Passion, though this time around the emotion can actually spread like some kind of infection till the emotion has jumped over aronud 5 or 6 times. Do you want an entire village to be engulfed in blind violence, or do you just want to kickstart the biggest party ever?
A Song buried Deep is another variation of Banner of Passion, this time linking the effect to a trigger, like a person, song or image, as precisely as you want. The effect is activated by any instance of the trigger within your level in miles, making it perfect to apply it to something like a common phrase or national coat of arms. Turn your armies into fearless fanatics, or just troll your enemy with the World's Funniest Joke.
And just to repeat myself, the universal attack Gifts work with Passion as well. You can break someone's heart so hard they die. Or just shoot heart-shaped laser beams I guess.
Next Time: The last batch of Words. Including spellcasting and time travel shenanigans.
Divine Powers - Part 4Original SA post Godbound
Divine Powers - Part 4
Now onto the last stretch of Godbound Words:
The power over river, oceans, and everything that swims in it. You are Aquaman, Moses, and much, much more.
Godbounds with this Word get a very handy set of abilities that include immunity against cold, water breathing, doubled swim rate, and what is essentially Darkvision for underwater (aka you can see perfectly in the deepest depths of the ocean, or spy that place all the way from the surface by just submerging your head). Aside from the cold immunity, you can just spread these abilities all around your companions, making undersea adventures that much easier to tackle.
Body of Water is another natural AC 3 power, this one working by having your body flow around attacks and other sources of danger like water. Think T-1000, except more fluid.
As another bonus, you become not only immune against poison, but you can also use it yourself by touching someone.
Crushing Depths allows you to detroy non-magical weapons by touching them and channeling the high pressure of the deep through them. When used against a living creature it's just like a normal attack, except it always deals max damage.
Living Torrent is a magical "weapon" dealing 1d10 damage at 100 ft. range. As this attack makes use of high pressure water, you can have it eat through earth or wood. Whether or not all that water remains after use is up to you.
Lord of the Waters turns you into Aquaman+: You can speak and give orders to everything under the sea (though sentient beings don't need to follow your orders). On top of that, you can sense any living being underwater within a mile, summon said beings, transform yourself into an underwater critter (between a shrimp and kraken in size), andany ships in your company become immune against storms and reefs (which is pretty handy if you're a pirate looking for a safe hideout).
Secrets of the Deep is a suped-up version of Lifesense, since it lets you sense flowing liquids (be it a river or blood). Touching a body of water lets you scan the area within 10 miles of you for a specific type of object that has sunk or is floating on water (like say a boat or chest).
Walking with the Tides lets you teleport from one body of water to any other within 1 mile, provided both points are big enough to let yourself get submerged completely. If there's a connection between the two points that would technically allow you to swim through (say a river, be it a regular or underwater one), the maximum distance increases to 100 miles.
Great Grifts include River Tamer, which lets you control a small river worth of water as you desire. Speed up a ship to be up to 10 times faster, redirect a river, or just command a serpent-shaped body of water to wreck a village for you.
Salt-Spray Purity makes yourself or an ally immune against a specific magical effect (say a petrifying gaze) for the rest of the scene, no matter how often someone tries to re-apply it. Alternatively, you can temporarily suppress Gifts like a Miracle (except you only commit Effort for the scene instead of the day, which is pretty handy).
Tsunami Hand is a Smite Action lets you punch a crushing wave into existance, which can cover an area up to 200 x 30 x 100 feet. The wave smashes small buildings in its way, an creatures suffer your Level in damage (tripled for Mobs). As a nice bonus, you can have the wave spare any number of possible targets.
The Word of wind, thunder and lightning. Get your Zeus on.
This Word alone makes you immune against falling, electricity, cold and sonic damage. You also don't need to breathe.
The Clouds Below lets you surround yourself with mist, up to 300 ft. in radius. You and your companions can see through it with no problem, anyone else needs supernatural senses to see farther than 5 ft. The mist can also be used to exstinguish normal fire, the Godboud and his allies can also ignore the first 5 points of fire damage they might suffer each round.
Eyes Above lets you perceive anything within 1 mile from you in a bird's eye view. You can't pick up any sounds, but your sight is so good that you can easily scan the area for whatever you're looking for (provided there's no roof or other cover in the way).
Rain of Lightning lets you summon a cloud of lightning to fry whoever is within 100 ft. of a point in your sight range. Basically the electricity version of that Fireball Gift earlier.
Sapphire Wings lets you fly as long as you keep that Effort committed. Your speed is twice your normal movement rate, or 100 miles/hour if you can fly in a straight line withing being disturbed (aka travel distance). This one's a pretty handy candidate for one of those Gifts bought at a premium because you don't actually have the Sky Word. Someone with the Fire Word could for example fly like the Human Torch, or with flame wings.
Stormsword is your 200 ft. / 1d10 damage weapon, this one taking the form of Zeus' iconic lightning bolts (or an electro-whip, or a BFG, or whatever else you can come up with). If the target is wet or covered in metal, it will always suffer at least 1 point of damage, even on a miss.
Windsinger lets you instantly change the weather, letting you calm a storm or actually create a storm powerful enough to wreck fragile structures and make normal ranged attacks impossible. As soon as you stop committing Effort to maintain your change, the weather will almost immediately return to normal. Lets hope the storm has calmed down by then.
Boreal Spike is a Great Gift lets you flash freeze an area with a radius of up to 200 ft, freezing and damaging everyone inside ( especially Mobs). Naturally, normal fire is immediately extinguished, and any liguids are frozen solid.
Fury of the Heavens is a Smite Power similar to the Druid spell Call Lightning Storm. Used under an open sky, you can call down lightning every second round to hit a target within sight, hitting it for your level in damage (a Save halves). You can also use this to destroy buildings and other structures, provided they are less sturdy than stone.
Voice of the Winds lets you hear and be heard in any point within 10 mile as long as its not completely air-tight. You can also use this offensively, applying your Fray die to anyone within 100 ft. by shouting really, really loudly.
This is a Word that mainly focuses on the various kinds of magic that one can learn in the world of Godbound: Low magic (cantrips or very, very specialized schools of magic) and theurgy (more or less your typical Vancian spellcasting stuff, but without the Vancian part).
With this Word alone, you can easily brush aside and negate anything done by Low Magic, be it a curse or a summoned creature. Just commit Effort and anything in your presences is dispelled.
Adept of the Gate/Way/Throne are three Gifts that grant you access to theurgies. They must be purchased in sequence, with each opening another tier of power (with the Gate being the lowest tier, while the Throne is the most powerful one). The Gift already has you start out with 2-4 invocations, though you can aquire more through research. Only the Adept of the Gate is a Lesser Gift, while the other two are Greater.
The Excellent Pause lets you suspend a theurgy or low magic you've just cast until you release it with an action. Pretty handy seeing how magic in Godbound generally requires a more or less elaborate ritual, making them harder to perform in an emergency. This one just lets you prepare one in advance.
Greater Pavis of Rule lets you temporarily become immune against low magic. If theurgy is used against you, you either get a +4 to the Saving Throw if the theurgy allows a save, or you just save normally even if the theurgy doesn't.
Perfection of Understanding lets you learn low magic and theurgies much easier and faster, and you can immediately identify any low magic or theurgy used in your presence. You also become a big enough nerd to recognize any magical working of any author you've studied before.
The Subtle Eye of Knowing is essentially Detect Magic. Any active form of low magic or theurgy in the area is indentified, and you can vaguely sense any other form of magic that might be around.
The Will that Burns is handy for those that tend to get disturbed during their magical rituals. Not only do you no-sell the disruption, but the guy that tried to break your concentration gets fried for 1d8 straight damage.
Wizard's Wrath is a very handy Gift that lets you apply your Fray Die even to worthy foes as long as you keep your Effort committed. This not only lets your wear down hard-to-hit foes or general damage sponges, but it also synergizes with any other Gift that makes use of the Fray Die. Now Gifts that apply the Fray Die to everyone within range each turn really hit everyone.
The only Greater Gift left after the above two Adept Gifts is Ruler of the Lesser Paths, which lets you temporarily master any low magic path you have studied for at least a day, while at the same time becoming immune to said path.
Borislav sat and stared at the wall. All morning, the squat peas-
ant had occupied a bench in the dirty Raktian tavern, swilling
bad ale and staring halfway up the tavern's stained wall. Now
and then a stranger would come to sit with him, but Borislav
favored them with nothing but the occasional grunt. Between
his stench and his silence, few lingered beside him.
Fewer still noticed when he rose at noon and shambled from
the room, a last dull coin tossed to the whey-faced barmaid.
None of them understood that Borislav had been looking for
something as he sat in the tavern, peering through many walls.
The knyaz's treasure-room was at the top of a smooth-stoned
tower, with seven mortal curses carved into both the outer wall
and the inner stair. The lord had paid a Black Academy dearly
for the spells, but his own curses were almost as terrible when
he found the golden reliquary of St. Andrey missing from his
vault. None thought to blame the light that shone through a
mouse-small crack in the roof.
This Word naturally comes with ways to generate light and set people on fire, but it also covers less tangible concepts like hope and truth. Another must-have for all your Madokas and Wonder Women.
Aside from becoming immune to fire damage and being able to just radiate light in a 200 ft. radius, this Word also makes you immune to having your vision impaired by darkness, mists and similar stuff. You also become so immune to being blinded that not even blindfolds or getting your eyes gouged out stops your from seeing stuff, which makes for great pranks.
Body of Burning Light is your natural AC 3 and 200 ft. with 1d10 damage weapon in one handy package, with the caveat that your improved AC only counts against creatures with sight (as it works by blinding your opponents). The light emitted from your body also counts as sunlight if that's important.
Hasten to the Light is a 1 mile teleport that only lets you teleport to places lit by natural sunlight, though you can also cheat by using your own demidivine light.
Hope of the Dawn is a very Command-type Gift. Allies near you not only gain a bonus to their HD and hit roll, but are also filled with such courage that they gain Moral 12 and become immune against emotion-altering effects (like a magical fear aura or something). They also get a general idea of what you want them to do, but they are not forced to act according to it.
Illumine that which is gets rid of magical darkness, illusions and identifies magic items and whatever weird magical effects people are afflicted by. If the dispelled effect originate from a Deception or Night Gift, then the Godbound that created them can make a save to maintain the effects.
Purity of Brilliant Law is like Salt-Spray Purity in that it gives you a more economically-friendly way to dispel stuff, both defensively and offensively.
Sunlight Sight is a nifty scrying power. You can use it on any place you've visited before that is lit by sunlight, and hear and see everything that's going on. You can even talk with the people there if you want.
The Greater Gift Creation's First Light is essentially super x-ray vision. If no magical barrier is in the way, you can see anything all the way to the horizon. Illusions or shape-shifters can't fool you, though the Deception Word can.
Purging Noonday Blaze gets rid of any undesired low magic within sight. If you commit the Effort for the day instead of the scene, you can shut off all gifts and magical powers on a single target for a round (preferrably opening him up for an alpha strike from your team mates).
Sunstrike is a Smite Action that lets you hit a single target with an orbital sun laser. It deals your level in dice like Divine Wrath, though the actual die size varies: It's 1d10s if the sun is in the sky, but only 1d6s if it's not. The big exception to this are otherwordly creatures, who not only always take 1d10s in damage, but have you roll the damage twice and take the better result.
If your opponent thinks he's clever by hiding in a castle or something: Too bad, cause this orbital strike punches through anything that is not Gift-proof.
Maritsa was not a clever girl. She was sweet, and merry, and
truthful, and lovely as a young girl could be, but she took so
very long to understand things. Her father had tried for a year
to teach her letters, with only blushes to show for it. Still, she
had tried so very hard that her father hadn't the heart to scold
her, and only told her to go help her mother knit.
So kind and gentle was young Maritsa that even the rough
children of the village didn't care to tease her, though perhaps
a little of that was because of her brother's heavy fists and her
sister's sharp tongue. Everyone loved Maritsa, and Maritsa was
glad of everyone she knew.
And so when the soldiers came rushing into the village,
shouting and taking and demanding women, Maritsa was at
a loss. No one had ever behaved such a way toward her, and she
could not think of what to do. But it was when a black-bearded
cossack tore her skirt that she decided that the soldiers must
go away. They must all go away.
A week later the captain found his missing scout detachment.
Fifty men lay stacked outside a little village, with a hundred
small holes in their eyes where a knitting needle had fit.
The Word of kicking ass in melee combat and being the king of Fighters (the class, not the fighting game).
Godbound of this Word can't be disarmed, always treat their unarmed or weapon attacks as magic, and they can instantly summon any melee weapon they've ever used before with a single thought. If you'r familiar with Final Fantasy Dissidia, you're basically Bartz.
Getting into melee range is always the most annoying part of being a close range fighter, so Contempt of Distance lets you do crazy Wuxia stunts to close the distance to your target. If there are no obstructions, you can just go to any point within movement range, provided there's a target to hit at the end. Crazy jumps? Wall running? No problem.
You can even keep doing this stuff over mutliple rounds provided there are foes to be hit waiting at the destination, and you can even fly / walk on air if that's what it takes to get to your target.
Nine Iron Walls makes you immune against physical attacks for a round, if for example there's a hail of arrows coming your way.
Steel without End boosts all of your unarmed and weapon attacks do deal 1d10+1 magic damage, and you even get to use a different Attribute than STR or DEX if it makes sense in context.
Thirsting Razor lets you auto-hit Lesser Foes, while Unerring Blade temporarily boosts your attacks against anyone: Your next attack hit on anything but a fumble and will always deal max damage.
Through a Red Forest is very handy if you're swarmed by cannon fodder. Upon activating this Gift and committing Effort, you can choose to willingly let yourself get hit by one of these mooks in exchange of becoming immune against all of the others until your next turn.
Greater Gifts of Sword include the lovely-named Cutting the Crimson Road, which lets you go to town against any Lesser Foe with equal or fewer HD than half your level by having your melee damage deal straight and maximized damage.
The Path through War makes you immune against all weapon and unarmed attacks, as long as you don't make an attack roll or use another offensive action. Doesn't really sound too bad against cannon fodder, seeing how you can still make use of your Fray Die.
Shattering Hand not only lets you wreck barriers that are in your way, but also lets you maximize your melee damage and Fray Die.
Zeng Zi stepped over the broken guardian-golem and ap-
proached the altar. The shining jade vessel glowed with the
luminous purity of a relic of the True King, the golden cups
around it dulled by the reflected splendor. Just before he
touched the ritual vessel, his hand froze, and his thoughts
plunged into the future.
He saw himself sublimate into a burst of cinnabar light at
the moment his hand touched the vessel, his spiritual impuri-
ties igniting in a reaction that blasted him into disconcordant
tones and dissipating radiance.
Biting back an impure curse of frustration, Zeng Zi drew
a deep breath and worked his will a second time. The web of
prophecy settled down on the empty shrine, surety that he
would be undisturbed for the three days of purification his
grubby spirit would require. With a grimace, the Godbound
reached into his pack and took a last bite of onion bean cake.
It would be rice, water, and prayer until that vase was his.
This one lets you unsurprisingly mess around with time itself, with a couple caveats of course. The future is never set in stone no matter how hard you try, and changing the past can't create too radical deviations.
This Word boosts your WIS and makes you immune against having this Word used against yourself. You also always know the exact time.
Echoes of the Past is a type of postcognition, letting you witness a particular time or event in your current location with you own eyes.
Immediate Foresight is a natural AC 3 power, this having you avoid attacks via Spider-Sense, which also means you can't be surprised.
Look Forward lets you find out the most likely future outcome or action of a specific situation or person.
Prophetic Insight lets you troll something by making up a prophecy about him. As long as the prophecy is possible, it will come to pass. Worthy Foes get to save to resist, as do Lesser Foes if the prophesy involves their death.
Reflex of Reget lets you hit rewind or play Prince of Persia to wind time back to your action that you just did, provided you're still concious or alive to do so.
Withering Hour is a dickish 200 ft. / 1d10 weapon that worky by aging/decaying its targets. Instead of killing someone with this, you can just age them as much as you want.
A Hand on the Balance is the first Greater Gift of this Word. It's essentially a kind of geas that lets you attach a trigger to someone's possible future (like say "If you enter town x" or "If you marry"). Not only do you become immediately aware of the trigger being activated, but you can instantly perform an action as if you were right there (to say crash the wedding with a swarm of bees). Don't worry if the target survives, since you can keep doing this once per day.
Sundered lets you hop timelines in a very limited way, allowing you to have two rounds at the same time and pick the one to actually occur.
Reweave Time can rewrite events, provided the event is no older than an hour, the change is actually possible, and none of your tinkering would result in deaths or resurrections.
The Word of prosperity, be it monetary or otherwise. You are Midas without his curse, or Scrooge without the hard work. You can create a crapload of wealth out of nothing with this Word, but you should watch out for inflation.
Naturally, this Word allows you to always be able to afford anything of 1 Wealth or less, and there are always enough provisions and clothing for you and your buddies, even if you have to create it out of thin air.
The Craft to Make lets you create or duplicate any mundane object you've seen before. You can create it out of thin air, but only if you create it out of actual materials does become permanent without having to maintain it with Effort.
Ever-Sufficient Provenance is a suped-up version of the Word's inherent ability. Now you can keep up to 100 people per level well-fed and clothed, including creating horses and cattle.
Flawless Reproduction lets you churn out one clone off a non-magical object or domestic animal, which keep existing just fine even after you reclaim the Effort. People will hate to lay siege to your castle.
Prosperity's Abundance lets you basically order stuff via magic Amazon, summoning objects in exchange for their worth in wealth.
Sustain the Multitude is tied to this game's Faction system, essentially ensuring that a faction (like say a village or city) will always have enough to survive no matter where they're located.
Wither the Purse lets you ruin a target financially, reducing his wealth through thieves, accidents and other misfortunes. The drop in Wealth depends on the your level, with the level cap of 10 being enough to turn the richest emperor into a beggar.
Forever Sufficient is a handy Greater Gift that afflicts you and your companions with a stroke of luck. Whatever you need on your journey will conveniently be found where and when you need it. Need to get across the ocean? There's a ship just waiting for you. Wanna enter an ancient tomb? Turns out there are a couple torches in your backpack. The only limiting factor is that these must be general objects, so you can't for example pull keys out of your pocket to open whatever lock is in your way.
The Golden God's Hand is another Faction power, letting you either bless a Faction for more wealth, or curse one to impoverish them.
Thieve's Bane is a fun one. It protects you and your companions from thievery and scams. Lesser foes can't succeed at all, while Worthy Foes trigger your Spider-Sense and lets you perform an action as if you were right next to them. Even if multiple worthy thieves try to steal from the party, you can just punch or point-blank alpha strike all of them.
Example Character: Finishing Touches
Will all Words covered, I've finally found the last Word for Overlord Zetta: Swords, which makes sense seeing how he's all into swords.
With Command, Endurance and Sword, he can boost his CHA and CON. Whatever I put in those Attributes is either bumped to 16, or to 18 if it was already that high. Since I haven't rolled anything above 14, I can just take the two lowest scores and dump them in CHA and CON to get rid of them.
With rolls of 14, 12, 13, 13, 14 and 10, I'll just take the 10 and 12, finalizing his Attributes:
STR 14 (+1), DEX 14 (+1), CON 16 (+2), WIS 13 (+1), INT 13 (+1), CHA 16 (+2)
Attribute Checks: STR 7, DEX 7, CON 5, WIS 8, INT 8, CHA 5
With the 6 points for Gifts, I get Body of Iron Will (natural AC), Corona of Fury for the Sword Word (swords in Makai Kingdom are really keen on AoE attacks), and the Command Gifts The Lieutenant's Wisdom (to overwatch his minions), The Soldier's Faithful Heart (nobody messes with his minions), and the Greater Gift Invincible Iron General (his minions are the best).
Hit Points: 10
Armor Class: 2
Attack Bonus: +1
- Badass Freakin' Overlord
- Demon from a Netherworld
- Rivalies and acquaintances with fellow Overlords spanning thousands of years
Weapon: Greatsword (Heavy, 1d10)
Goals: Rebuild own Netherworld (which probably went kablooey when those pesky humans broke everything.)
His main gimmicks might focus on supporting his "monkeys" for now, but boy is he hard to hit.
Next Time: Magic and Spellcasting - is caster surpremacy still a thing in Godbound?
EDIT: Dammit I had forgotten the short stories.
Magic and SpellcastingOriginal SA post Godbound
After covering all the wonderful demidivine toys a Godbound can have, let's take a look at the classic realm of d20 shenanigans: magic.
Magic and Spellcasting
Low Magic is a nice addition to the standard OSR formular. It offers various cantrips and rituals that are split into various traditions, each focusing on different effects. It allows the GM to add some more characters or entire professions with limited magic abilities, all while keeping the power and sheer versatility of proper d20 spellcasting in the hands of major characters.
Unless you have the Sorcery Word, the only way to learn a Low Magic tradition is by aquiring a Fact revolving around your studies. Mortals have to master a tradition one tier (Apprentice, Adept, Master, Archmage) at a time, while Godbound just get everything at once.
Casting Low Magic is generally a rather slow process, with Apprentice spells already taking a 15 minute ritual, with stronger tiers taking longer till you reach Archmage spells, which require an entire day.
Fortunately, there are ways to speed this process up. Godbound of the Sorcery Word can prepare spells in advance, and some traditions allow one to do something similar by storing the almost-finished spell inside of a charm, potion or other trinket. Other traditions are a bit more advanced and allow you to straight-up cast spells spontaneously.
Unfortunately, both of these mortal applications of fast spellcasting have their limitations. They are still on the slow side in that they only take effect at the start of the next turn, and there are only so many spells you can prepare or cast spontaneously. Instead of using traditional d20 spell slots, Godbound just lets you cast spells spontaneously up to your Hit Dice or Level, with prepared spells allowing for twice that amount (or any combination of the two flavors).
So, how well does Low Magic fare against the Words and Gifts of a Godbound? Not particularly well. Whenever Low Magic and divine powers clash, the divine powers come out on top. Low Magic can't break divine curses or see through divine illusions. On the other hand, even the best charm of fire protection that Low Magic can produce is useless if some demigod decides to roast you.
The main reason for these shortcomings (aside from divine powers being plain better and stronger) is that Low Magic doesn't nearly pull of as much reality-alteration and is generally short-lived. As such, most Low Magic spells rarely last longer than a day and can't create permanent matter.
As such, Low Magic for a Godbound is not really a replacement for proper Gifts and such. Instead, they serve as a more low-profile alternative to deal with mortals. Some traditions also let you summon critters, though you can't summon more than one creature at a time, and even Archmage summons can't go above 8 HD in power.
The example traditions presented here all have ties to the default setting explained later, so I'll skip most of the fluff for now.
Unlike every other form of d20 magic ever, Low Magic doesn't actually come with an extensive list of spells. Instead each tier of each traditions gets a short description of the kind of stuff you can pull off.
The Academy of Thought
This is essentially telepathy, starting with the ability to read surface thoughts and ending with you being able to shoot mind bullets and brainwash a single target.
Academicians can cast their mental effects spontaneously, and they are so subtle that only fellow practicioners (and probably "proper" spellcasters as well) can tell what's going on.
Unfortunately for them, the telepathic nature of their magic means they can't do anything against undead or other brainless creatures, and in fact their spells solely affect minds. No telekinesis for you, sir.
Also, casting this stuff spontaneously really strains your brain matter, with each spell either applying a cumulative -1 penalty to just about everything, or alternatively dealing 1d6 of damage as you let it fry some of your flesh. Nice.
The Cinnabar Order
Part pyrokinesis, part fire elementalism. The main gimmicks of this tradition is starting and extinguishing fires, throwing fire damage at people (Adepts can use Ken's burning shoryuken for a 1d6 weapon, while Archmages throw 2d10 fireballs around) and summoning various fire creatures. Apprentices don't actually learn any spells, but they get some nice desert survival skills.
As if all these combat applications weren't indication enough, you can cast these spells spontaneously, without any caveats.
A school of anti-magic specializing in breaking (other low magic) curses and creating wards of protecting against hostile (low magic) effects.
But what they banish, they can also create. Practitioners of this can "grant" all sorts of curses, from simple roll penalty debuffs to stuff that will get you eventually killed.
Archmages can even combine the two aspects of this tradition, warding off spells or breaking curses, and sending the respective spell/curse right back at the perpetrator, no matter where he currently is.
Spells of this tradition can be prepared in charms.
The Empty Way
Basically Shaolin Monk magic. You cann cast these spells spontaneously, and not even the ritual versions need any kind of components. Just sit on the ground and meditate.
To keep with the not-Shaolin spirit, spells of this tradition only ever affect the caster itself, and he is required to live according to a vow or taboo. Breaking this taboo will make him fall till he purifies himself.
As for the spells themselves, they let you get rid of poison and other nasty effects, remain strong and healthy even in old age, and pull off all sorts of wuxia stuff like improved jumping, natural armor and the ability to hit really hard with unarmed attacks (up to 1d10 as an Archmage).
Your basic dirt farmer magic, or historical witch lore. Easily the most commong tradition, but that's not saying much. Because unlike the other traditions, you need to be at least a Master before you actually get any magical effects. Apprentices and Adepts can't cast spells, but have extensive knowledge about herbs, livestock, fortunetelling and how to act as a mediator when some neighbors are bickering with each other.
Once you actually start getting spells, you can cure ailments, heal people, analyize magical items and do some minor buffing or debuffing.
The Merciful Hand
The art of healing. Apprentices only have general medical knowledge, but Archmages can heal up to 2d6 damage and can even regrow lost limbs. Yet even they are powerless against all the chaos done by more powerful spellcasters and Made Gods of the past.
Spells of this tradition can be prepared as potions or poultrices.
Seers of the Bright Eye
Scryers and fortune-tellers. This one's all about spying on people and getting intel, with some short glimpses into the future.
Unfortunately for Seers, simple wards craftable by just about any Adept can block scrying form all but the most powerful Seers, and even they are blocked by more high-class wards.
Building magitek gadgets, one cog at a time.
The art responsible for the construction of the Made Gods. It's magitek, and its practicioners are basicall artificers.
Apprentices merely have knowledge about general crafting, but starting with Adept, they get to identify and create magical items. The most powerful stuff you can do are +3 weapons and armor as an Archmage.
This tradition is also pretty big in making servitors, magitek clockwork constructs that act as "summons". Unlike regular summon, these guys last till they are destroyed. In fact just about everything you can do with this tradition sticks around, as you're just crafting stuff.
Next time: Theurgy and Invocations. Now we're cooking with gas.
Theurgy and InvocationsOriginal SA post Godbound
Theurgy and Invocations
Theurgy - aka the closest thing to standard d20 magic - is a power reserved for Godbound with the Sorcery Word, various supernatureal creatures and the mightest of mortal spellcasters (who more often than not had to make a pact with Eldritch forces that probably just want to screw you over).
This type of magic taps into the heavenly power of creation, which lets you mess around with reality and do all the wonderful things high-level spellcasters are known for. Theurgy allowed the empires of old to raid Heaven itself, build their own gods and caused the entire world to go FUBAR.
The spells of Theurgy - known as Invocations - are divided into three tiers, or degrees of initiation: the Gate offers basic reality-messing, the Way is more advanced, and the Throne lets you get as close to understanding and controlling the forces of creation itself as a mortal can ever hope to get. It's basically like learning Venderant Nalaberong.
Learning a new Invocation requires a lot of time to study (1 week for a Gate Invocation, 1 month for the Way, and 3 months for the Throne). Casting time is standardized for all Invocations of a certain tier, and each can be cast in three ways: slowly as a ritual (taking 1 hour / 12 hours / 1 day), cast quickly in combat (taking 1 round per tier and having you commit Effort for the scene), or cast instantly (which commits Effort for the day and deals 1d6 / 1d12 / 1d20 damage as the powers you're channeling fry your body).
Casting instantly really hurts (Throne invocations have a 55% chance of causing 4 points of damage, which is about half of what a Godbound starts with at level 1), but it might be worth it in combat because Invocations always fails if someone hits or otherwise disturbs you during the casting process (no Concentration check for you, sir).
Theurgy plays in a much higher league than Low Magic. Almost anything created or enchanted with Invocations is permanent, and you can - among other things - perform dimensional travel, or even create new life. There's theoretically no limit to what Theurgy can do, but the big issue is that it's pretty much impossible to create new Invocations, so even the mightiest Godbound has to content with what he finds in ancient tomes.
Speaking of Godbound, much like Low Magic, Theurgy stands little chance against the migt of Gifts. Though unlike Low Magic, there actually do exist very specialized Invocations that can beat Gifts.
As is typical in Godbound, lesser foes are generally automatically affected by Invocations, while worthy ones and Godbound can save.
Some Invocations have you go a bit Voodoo-ish and require an arcane connection to the target of your curse. This is generally some tiny bit of his body (like blood or hair), or an item that's very important to the target. Once taken from the target, the Theurge has about a day to conserve the arcane connection with a short ritual. It's also a good idea to get as many of these connections as possible, since they are typically only good for one use. Theurgy also generally has problems with making large-scale changes that are truly permanent in nature. Any magitek-like Theurgy artifacts that have survived the Shattering to the present day are probably in bad shape.
The Invocations themselves don't follow the standard layout of d20 spells (probably since casting time and duration and such is standardized, and other things like components aren't too important here), and they're just a paragraph worth of text. Their names and effects also remind me a lot of the Sorcery found in Silent Legions, and some are even a bit similar in their effect.
Invocations of the Gate
- Barred Gates of Forbiddance: Ban a target from a place, be it a house or even an entire nation. If the target is inside the place when the ban is cast, or when brought inside of it against his will, he will try to flee ASAP.
- Beacon of Celestial Purity: Bathes the area in a cleansing light. Not only does it get rid of dust and dirt, but it will also neutralize an poison or disease sources, and and makes lies visible in the form of smoke coming out of the lier's mouth. Unfortunately for you, these lies will hurt you from feedback. Naturally, the Word of Deception is too subtle for this light to work.
- The Bright God's Canticle: A pretty funny Invocation that requires you to sing. As long as you keep singing, you and your nearby allies will gain an effect similar to the Shibboleth seen in Stars Without Number and Silent Legions: Observers are aware of you, but they are incapable of doing anything with that knowledge, like say stopping you or telling anyone about it. Now I picture Shibboleth to constantly sing "Hello, My Baby"
- The Excision of Days: The classic "Kill other humans to prolong your lifespan" ritual, with younger victims granting you more extra time (up to 2 months for infants). Caveats include not being able to cast this Invocation quickly or even instantly, and after about a century or so you tend to mutate and become more monstrous. A bit like how the Apostles in Berserk tend to look quite freakish even before hulking out.
- Kiss of the Crane: A bit like the snake arrow from Conan the Barbarian, this lets you use an arcane connection to turn a crane-shaped blade into a tiny cruise missile that will track down and hit the target for your level in d6 damage. Not really spammable as the Invocation stops working on the same target as long as the previous hit hasn't healed completely.
- Open the Night Road: This one lets you track down a Night Road and open it if it was sealed (either because someone deliberately sealed it or because the entrance just kinda collapsed). You can either open the Night Road only temporarily, or you can just break the seal for good, which is what the Eldritch horrors of the Uncreated Night love trolling n00b Theurges into doing, after which they usually Zerg rush the entire realm.
- Pore of Hell: Lets you inscribe a sigil on a solid surface to act as a magical remote or proximity mine, covering anything within 10 ft. with flames and obsidian splinters for your level in d6 damage.
- Ranks of Pale Bone: Lets you animate the dead (your level in d6 Hit Dice), which are instantly loyal and stay around till they are destroyed or the Invocation gets dispelled. The bodies of destroyed Undead can't be raised again, but corpses that can don't actually need to be all that intact.
- Seal of Regnal Dominion: It's mind control, more specifically the fun kind that will have the victim carry out even suicidal actions. Problems can arise if you don't share a language, or the target is an animal that might not be able to grasp complex orders.
- Sunder the Lesser Spell: Dispells a single Gate Invocation and and Low Magic around it. Invocation dispelling sadly causes 1d10 damage from feedback.
- The Tireless Iron Cavalcade: Summons up to a dozen horses made out of black iron and embers, which serve as never-tiring mounts for the Theurge and his buddies. Normal animals are freaked out by these constructs(?), and they drain a tiny bit of life essence from the land, leaving a handy trail of black hoofmarks on the ground for anyone to track.
- The Trumpet of Far Utterance: Requires an arcane connection (or just being BFF with the target) and lets you communicate with the target via magical Star Wars holograms. You can even hand over a single inanimate object up to 10 pounds in weight through the hologram, though there's a 1/4 chance of it getting lost and ending up somewhere in between the two locations. At least you get to see a brief glimpse of where it is now.
Invocations of the Way
- Curse of the Blighted Strand: Lets you put just about any curse you can think of on a target, as long as the curse itself is not fatal and only affects the cursed. Examples include rotting eyeballs, and suffering form just about any sickness known to man like Mr. Burns.
- The Deafening Word of Truth: An interesting Invocation that lets you attack with a cone-shaped blast of sonic energy, which can knock down an temporarily deafen Lesser Foes. The catch? The spell is is powered by uttering a secret. Harmless secrets don't actually do anything, while embarassing once or those that would get you into serious trouble (like telling some weakness you've kept hidden) can really put on the hurt (up to 1d20 in damage). While you can kill any survivors, you can no longer keep the secret truly hidden, as Godbound with the Knowledge Word might pick it up with their powers (which would normally not be possible for knowledge that is kept a secret by every living being that knows it).
- Delaying the Coming of Dawn: Stops time around you for 1d6 rounds. You can't damage anything, or steal from or move living beings. Anyone with the Word of Time will also be able to act normally during this time stop. And if you try to use this multiple times in the same Scene, there's an ever-increasing chance of the Invocation failing and frying you for 2d10 straight damage. Ouch.
- The Far-Distant Lance: Use an arcane connection to pull off a save-or-die on your target (or just die for Lesser Foes). Even those that succeed their save will suffer your level in d10 damage. To prevent abuse, you'll also suffer feedback damage equal to half the target's max Hit Dice, and any other arcane connection you have of the same target will become useless.
- Glyph of Crowned Impunity: This is like a very dickish version of the Shibboleth effect: You put a glowing sigil on your brow, and for one hour or until the glyph is concealed, you and up to half a dozen allies have diplomatic immunity cranked up to 11. You can commit any crime, and all bystanders (except friends or close allies of the victim) will just go on and ignore what's going on. That is until the effect ends and they realize that what they've seen was in fact a crime.
- Mirrored Wheel of the Seasons: Changes the local weather conditions by fast-forwarding to a later season, as long as said weather would be normal for the area during that time. Lasts your level in days without issues, after which any additional day causes 1d6 damage that doesn't heal as long as the Invocation is going on. Once this effect does end, you can't affect the area gain until youo wait for as long as the weather change lasted.
- Path of the Bright Sanctum: This lets you open a one-way gate between your current location and a sanctum, a place you've ritually prepared beforehand. You can only ever have a single sanctum, and the gate always stays open for 11 minutes, whether you want it to or not.
- Shutting the Dark Way: This lets you seal off a Night Road entrance for good. That is until a Miracle or the above Invocation come along.
- Sign of Avulsive Banishment: Usable once per Scene, this handy attack Invocation lets you smite a single target for 1d10 damage per level, or an area for 1d6 damage per level. The caveat is that the target must be from the mundane world (which in Godbound means its either an Angel or an Uncreated). If there's no such target around, you take the damage itself because you've just channeled a bunch of energy which nothing to vent it.
- Sunder the Greater Spell: Like Sunder the Lesser Spell, except it can also dispell Invocations of the Way.
- Tumulus of Sanctified Night: As seen before, Godbound of the Death Word can utterly curbstomp the undead. Necromancers of old had to deal with Made Gods that wielded similar power, so they came up with this little Invocation to protect their rotting legions. A Tumulus are three man-sized markers that encompass a graveyard or similar place. Inside the area and one mile per level around it, all undead are treated as greater undead (making them immune against most roflstomp Death Gifts), and inside the area any Gift or other divine power requires one to commit Effort for the day. The Theurge can also select a small group of undead as his bodyguards or lieutenants. These are no longer treated as undead for the purpose of hostile powers, and they keep this immunity for 10 times the normal radius. There might also exist similar Invocations for constructs, elementals and similar beings.
Invocations of the Throne
- A Heart's Desire: A bit like a Luck Gift, this Invocation lets you make anything but the most impossible event come true. Unfortunately, this messes up your own fate, and you will automatically fail a saving throw or attribute check at a critical moment in the future with no chance to no-sell it. This won't happen if failing would actually kill you (though going by RAW, "This failure will never kill the Theurge" can be interpreted as save-or-dies just leaving you with 1 Hit Point I guess, or knocking you out), but you won't be able to use this Invocation again unless you do fail (to balance out fate).
- Auspice of the Divine King: Lets anyone around you see you as their true ruler and master, becoming your loyal servants. Works fine for Lesser Foes, but Greater Foes get to save anytime an order goes against their principles, and you really don't want this to happen as this Invocations gives you a weakness against rebellion (aka anyone hitting you will always deal max damage).
- Directed Convulsion of Law: This lets you and a couple allies go pretty bonkers, as it makes you immune against a single thing. Negate gravity and walk through the air. Ignore that stone wall and just go through it. Get rid of friction and slide down a mountain. Sadly of limited use for more mundane situations, as you can for example only negate a single specific swords, not swords in general.
- Gifts of Spring and Winter: A stronger version of The Excision of Days. This one lets you take on any physical age you want. No mutation or anything, but you will age normally afterwards. Instead of human sacrifice (where each human will allow you to change your age by 1 year), you can also use Miracles from Words like Endurance, Health or Fertility to fuel this process, letting you stay young without having to kill people.
- The Grinding Teeth of God: Lets you create a tear in reality for 10 rounds, which will suck in everything in a 30 ft. radius to be greeted by the gears of a celestial engine. Living beings can get away easily enough (though they suffer 1d20 damage each round they stay in the area), while everything else is grinded to dust. The gears will destroy anything but the strongest supernatural substances, and you really don't want to get them anywhere near the gears, as that will destroy them. Having a new Night Road pop into existance is the most harmless thing that could happen after the engine shuts down.
- Legion of Marching Clay: Lets you summon one automaton per level from an inanimate material. The automatons have only 2 HD, but they get neat abilities depending on the material used: an automaton made out of a hard substance like metal or stone is immune against non-magical attacks, while one made out of soft substances like clay is much more sentient, developing their own identity and will (while still staying loyal to the Theurge).
- Palace of the Sorcerer-Prince: Lets you create a fancy magical palace that you can summon at will if there's enough open space. It comes with free servants and offers enough space and provisions to accomodate a hundred guests forever. Both the endless food and the servants will crumble if they leave the palace.
- Pierce the Veil of Night: Lets you create a temporary Night Road to another realm, be it Heaven, Hell, another shard of the world, or a different campaign setting. You have to study first to gain enough knowledge about your destination, and you can't pinpoint the exit point (though Night Roads tend to open in remote places far away from civilization). Travel time and how long it will last is random (1d6 and 1d10+7 days, respectively). Uncreated will probably try to eat you on the way, and if you're still on it when it collapses, which causes you to fall into whatever realm gets in your way. Better hope its not Hell
- Summon the Black Iron Servitor: While Legion of the Marching Clay lets you create multiple weak constructs, this lets you create one powerhouse of a servitor. It's made out of inanimate materials or living flesh, and has twice your level in Hit Dice. You can only have one of these at one time, as they're pretty darn impressive: 30' movement, AC 0, a 1d10 straight damage attack that always hits, immunity against non-magical attacks, 3 GM-approved Gifts with 5 points of Effort to fuel them (preferably with at least 1 attack Gift to act as a laser beam). And not only is this servitor utterly loyal, but it is also intelligent.
- Sunder Every Sorcery: This not only lets you dispell any Invocation, but Gifts as well as long as its not a constant effect. Dispelling a Gift causes 1d20 points of feedback damage however, so don't get too crazy.
Spells from your OSR game of choice can be readily converted into Invocations, assigning a tier based on the spell level (1-3 for the Gate, 4-6 for the Way, and 7-9 for the Throne).
Things to avoid are buffs (demigods shouldn't rely on static bonuses, and they shouldn't just be handed extra actions without a caveat), as well as direct-damage spells that are better than the attack Gifts and don't really bring anything new or interesting to the table. Also any damage is capped at 10d6.
Speaking of better than Gifts, if you come across a spell that is equal to or better than Gift, you probabl want to nerf it. On the other hand, many OSR spells probably require a buff or two. Most will probably require you to make their duration permanent in order to keep up with the above Invocations.
Next Time: A Gazetteer of Arcem - introducing zombie vikings, machine Russians, and Ebberon 2.0
A Gazetteer of ArcemOriginal SA post Godbound
Let's look at Godbounds default setting, shall we?
A Gazetteer of Arcem
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the whole backstory of Godbound is how Theurgy combined with megalomania, warmongering and general murder-hoboing caused Heaven and the World to break apart, the fragments now floating through the endless void of Uncreated Night.
Arcem (which more or less translates to "refuge") is one such fragment, a continent surrounded by an ocean that turns darker the farther one sails out, until the unfortunate sailors fall into the Uncreated Night.
But first, a short look at the multiverse.
The Uncreated Night
The primordial chaos. The void of un-Creation. It appears paradox that such a place can vomit out Eldritch abominations, but it could be that these creatures are born from an unnatural intermingling between Uncreated Night and Creation. This would certainly explain why they are such twisted monstrosities seemingly only driven by hate and destruction.
The only (somewhat) safe way through the Uncreated Night is via the Night Roads, which can take on a variety of forms, be it a river or a literal road. If the entrance of a Night Road is inside a dungeon, brave adventurers might not even notice that they've entered one until they notice that the dungeon just gets more and more strange as they go on.
It is not uncommon to find citadels and other buildings on a Night Road, from older times where they were more frequently used. Many of these are abandoned and probably full of horrors, while others might house the descendants of the humans that were stationed there.
New Night Roads are created either by (usualy foolish) Theurges, or just spontaneously. The latter only really happens in isolated regions, as if the presence of humans and other living beings makes it harder for the Uncreated Night to create an entrance.
The fragments of Heaven can take on a multitude of forms, but usually pretty grand and majestic, with ever-present signs of decay. Some fragments have their own little ecosystem, while others are devoid of life.
Getting into a heavenly fragment is not easy task, as the Night Roads leadig to them are often very well hidden. Due to the catastrophic nature of the Shattering, some fragments aren't even connected to anything, just floating through the Night until a Theurge can create a Night Road to it.
But the fun doesn't stop once a group of brave adventurers manage to reach such a fragment. The raiding parties of yore might've left some nasty traps, and the broken state of many fragments and its engines can be pretty deadly in and of itself. And lastly, there's always the chance of running into an angel, and you generally don't want to do that.
The most priceless treasure to gain from Heaven are the celestial shards, which are mandatory for the creation of powerful artifacts and similar wonders. The celestial engines themselves (who can take on a wide range of apperances, from actual machinery to floating orbs and stuff) can also be an important goal for adventuerers, for each has a spiritual connection with one aspect of a realm, be it a region or a law of physics. A group of brave Godbound will certainly be needed if one of their realm's most imporant engines is in dire need of repair, or requires defending form angels.
Hell in Godbound doesn't have anything to do with Devils (who like Demons fall into the category of "Sir not appearing in this setting"). It was actually a good place to have, as it cleansed the souls of the sinners before they were ready for the proper afterlife.
Unfortunately, with the angels turning a bit batshit crazy after the humans wrecked their home and caused God to go MIA, they promptly wrecked the place to make sure that it could no longer purify anything, and generally turned it into a prison for human souls. Their goal now is to trap humans in Hell forever and destroy all remaining celestial engines so they can reboot Creation.
But not all angels are enemies: Former warden of Hell Arch-Angel Sammael (the only named angel btw) and his loyalists didn't quite agree with their comrades, and have no started an underground resistance movement. They are too small in number to stop their crazed kin, but they can be useful allies for a group of Godbound. They'd certainly need all the help they can get on a trip into Hell.
With Hell looking pretty darn grim and a certain lack of gods, various mortal faiths now rely on rituals to keep the souls of the dead anchored to their realm in an eternal sleep. I suppose this is why proper burial rites makes it harder to raise undead.
Listed among the nations of Arcem, but I decided to put these here as it makes a bit more sense, for the Far Realms is the term used for realms besides Arcem. Some of these might've been part of the same planet/world as Arcem, while many more certainly aren't.
Contact with these Far Realms is anything but frequent. The usually show themselves in the form of stranded explorers, voyagers or refugees. Some come alone, while others strand on Arcem in a ship of sorts (Spelljammers?). Most of these poor souls have little hope of ever getting back home, but fortunately for them the lands of Arcem are strange enough that nobody really bats an eye on a non-human fellow. Provided he doesn't start eating people, I guess.
Since Arcem is pretty much human-only, the Far Realms serve as an origin for non-human PCs. Maybe your elf was trolled by fairies and is now stuck on Arcem, or your dwarf has Superman's origin story. Who knows.
The Far Realms are also a good excuse to include all sorts of weird stuff, like literal space invaders.
Lastly, high-level Godbounds might decide to switch campaign settings via Night Roads. Go to Faerun and troll metaplot NPCs. Visit Sigil to see whether or not the Lady of Pain tolerates Godbound. Or invade Athas and fix everything.
Corpse Worlds are realms that have gone really FUBAR. Either hordes of Uncreated killed every living thing in the realm, or a vital celestial engine broke down, leaving a world without a sun, air or gravity. There is nothing a mere mortal could do to restore such a hopeless realm, but a Godbound might just pull it off.
Paradises area small realms created by a Made God or equally powerful being as a resting place for the souls of their followers. Usually a place of eternal peace (unless its creator was into more grimdark stuff), these realms are still a safe haven for the souls within even after its creators demise.
Though without its creators, these Paradises can lose some of their glory and power, which might lead to invasions of Uncreated, or the whole place being engulfed in anarchy (which can get pretty weird if you consider that most paradises makes it impossible for its inhabitants to die).
The Nations of Arcem
This kinda reminds me of Aventuria.
The dominant human ethnicities in Arcem are the Din (not-Caucasians) of the central and northwest regions, the Akeh (not-Africans) of the southwest and northeast, and the Ren (not-Asians). The Din and Akeh are native to Arcem, while the Ren are the descendants of an invasion force from a faraway not-China who, thanks to some unlucky timing, got stuck on Arcem when the Shattering cut them off from their homeland in every sense of the word.
Aside from these three, there are a couple minorities and people with a mixed heritage.
Each nation gets a page dedicated to it, with a summary of its population, government, problems, names and Background Concepts (for use as Facts if your PC comes from that nation).
Also note that the general assumption is that Godbounds have only started popping up on Arcem a few years ago. None of the established nations have a good idea what to do with these folks, and the Godbound themselves (aka the PCs) have yet to start re-shaping the world.
The Akeh nation of Ancalia is the poster child for the terrible after-effects of the Shattering. It was a peaceful and rich country, with a wise ruler and several orders of noble knights. This all ended 5 years ago when what must've been a celestial engine failure caused 9 Night Roads to pop up all over the land.
As if the ensuing invasion of Uncreated monstrosities wasn't bad enough, they also brought with them the Hollowing Plague, which caused each of their victims to rise as a zombie.
Today, Ancalia lies in ruins. Uncreated and undead roam the land, the knightly orders are gone aside from a few survivors, and what little civilization is left is usually run by warlords. Most Ancalians have sought refuge in neighboring nations, but they are distrustful, wondering if the Ancalians brought this disaster upon themselves.
Atheocracy of Lom
These guys are weird. Founded by refuges from ancient nations ruled by a terror regime of Made Gods, the people of Lom have developed a grudge against any kind of god.
As such, Lom is an atheistic nation, run by "antipriests" who advocate a somewhat convoluted belief system of True Reason, which advocates that any sort of self-proclaimed divinity is not to be trusted and that human reason is the only way to go. The antipriests claim to thrive for a new golden age of humanity, but they seem to just use the citizens as guinea pigs.
Being atheist in a world where people with divine powers are walking the Earth sounds like a somewhat lopsided struggle. Fortunately for the Atheocracy, they have access to the Pyre, an ancient angelic artifact. Those who enter it can suppress and nullify magical and divine powers, but this comes at a great cost: Almost everyone who uses the Pyre suffers severe mental damage and is reduced to a simple-minded fool, which the other antipriests train like a man-shaped anti-magic dog.
The dark secret of Lom is that the Atheocracy is backed by the angels, who are more than happy to support a nation that makes sure each and every single one of its dead land in Hell thanks to the lack of funeral rites.
Naturally, they are suspicious of the Godbound, and have several strike teams all over the land to hunt them down, albeit with not particularly great success.
Lom might also have the weirdest naming convetion of them all: Family names are just professions (though it doesn't actually have to be your actual profession), and surnames include stuff like Upright, Benevolence and Selfless. A pretty weird cult, is all I'm saying.
This is more or less the grandpa of Ancalia in terms of being FUBAR. Once home to one of the most advanced civilizations on the continent, the region now known as the Bleak Reach got absolutely wrecked by the Shattering. Several cities were destroyed by natural disasters, and celestial fallout affects the region to this day.
Amidst the ancient ruins and Eldritch horrors, the Bleak Reach sports a number of independent settlements populated by charming fellows who couldn't find refuge anywhere else.
The Bright Republic is Eberron 2.0. No, wait, it's Shadowrun. They're a 21st century nation in a fantasy setting, complete with skyscrapers, television, and the internet. They even see the Godbound as superheroes. The main difference is that the Republic's energy comes from magically-generated magnetism and electricity, and their firearms all make use of magnetic propulsion.
The Republic's tech level might appear strange, but that's what the world actually looked like before the Shattering. The reason the other nations have regressed is because Arcem's celestial engines have been so damaged that they can no longer into stuff like electricity. The Bright Republic can still make use of advanced technology because the house-sized etheric nodes that also serve as energy generators also help in supporting the celestial engines. Because of this, none of the Republic's gadgets work outside of their island, unless it has been insulated in a somewhat expensive process.
(And yes, this means the Medival Stasis of Arcem is a result of broken physics.)
Problems for the Bright Republic come in the form of corruption and organized crime typical for this kind of setting. There's also a bit of potential trouble with neighbors (the Republic is utterly dependant on imports for raw materials) and illegal immigrants (the Republic keeps a tight watch around its borders because the nodes can only support so many people, but the comfy lifestyle of the island is just too tempting).
Lastly, there is the tiny problem that the nodes have started to decay, and the government doesn't really have any idea what to do about it.
Another home of a former ancient civilization. Similar to the Bright Republic in power, this civilization was obsessed with the Mandala, a massive and complex series of magical sigils that covered the whole nation. [Insert Fullmetal Alchemist spoiler here]
Nobody knows what exactly happened (or why), but the completion of the Mandala caused the destruction of this civiliation and the birth of large and dangerous beasts.
Nowadays, the Howlers are the home of nomads who have managed to tame these beasts. They are quite poetic for barbarians, but their raids doesn't exactly make for healthy relationships with their neighbors. The only ones willing to trade with the is the Bright Republic, but some Howler tribes are already working on cutting the middleman there as well by breeding swim- and flight-capable beasts.
A series of islands with largely independent towns. The Kasirutans are descendants of the navy that brought the invasion for from not-China to Arcem. Their names are very southeast Asian-y.
Kasirutans are known has having some of the finest ships in all the land, and their merchants can be found almost anywhere. But many are vary when they see Kasirutan sails, for one can never be quite sure whether they've come across a trader or a pirate.
The Bright Republic was nothing. Now things get awesome.
A Russian/Eastern Europe inspired country, Nezdovha was named after a tsar that ruled the region around 300 years ago.
As Nezdovha became older, he desparately looked for ways to extend his lifespan. He finally thought to have found the perfect solution by pulling a Ghost in the Shell, ordering his artificers to build him a mechanical body in which his brain could be preserved forever.
Unfortunately for Nezdovha, his artificers did such a great job that his magitek body developed sentience. This Iron Tsar let Nezdovha rot in his head (or maybe he's still trapped inside?), but he played along for a while until his artificers build a new artifical nobility with which he overthrew the old ruling class. This didn't sit well with the nobles of the Raktine region, who promptly declared their independence.
With thousands of mechanical boyars, each at least as strong as 10 men, it would've been easy for the Iron Tsar to smash these rebels. Unfortunately, they were just as sentient and strong-willed as he is, and they'd rather spend their time with intrigue and general games-of-throning than working for a common cause. The Iron Tsar still has the upper hand though, as his artificers make sure to provide the boyars with new family members.
To protect their borders and keep the human population in check, the Iron Tsar and the mechanical boyars make use of autocossacks, magitek cyborgs with artifical centaur bodies.
An Egypt-style nation, but with a twist, for the population lives in city-sized pyramids to protect them from the unforgiving desert.
Each of these pyramid cities tries to be as self-sufficient as possible, but they can't cultivate everything, making them dependant on dangerous cravan routes into the desert, where they are frequently raided by the nomadic sand princes.
Bandits aside, the biggest problem of the Oasis States is the nobility's obsessing with eugenics. They happily indulge in incest to strengthen family gifts like martial skills, magic, and perhaps divine powers. Of course, this means there are a lot of deformed relatives wasting away their lifes in some secret dungeon, and the current God-King and -Queen of the Oasis States are batshit insane.
An Akeh nation with a strong warrior spirit. Every male citizen is required to serve the military for 12 years, while women can join women-only units if they have the skill and determination. Their pride are their legions of heavy infantry armed with shield and spear, who rank among the best soldiers in Acrem.
If their Latin names are anything to go by, they're basically not-African not-Romans.
Ever since the invasion from not-China, the Patrian Empire has been in near-constant conflict with the Regency of Dulimbai (which used to be ruled by Patrians before the invaders took it). Bei it short border skirmishes or an all-out war, there's always trouble to be found, with no end in sight.
One thing the Patrians are kinda infamous for is their penchant for slaves. Almost every family has at least one, and these ones are generally treated well and can even expect freedom for good service (now employed by their former masters as they'd rather have someone they can trust work for them).
Unfortunately, the grand majority of slaves work in the Patrian mines, a short, cruel and miserable existance that has resulted in serveral revolts and will probably screw the Patrians over big time if one of their slaves turns out to be a Godbound.
A loose collection of city-states that splitt off from Nezdohva when the machines took over. They also have a history with the neighboring lands of Patrian and Dulimbai, who have both taken over Raktia in the past. They don't really get along with any of their neighbors, and even the city-states themselves are bickering with each other.
Due to the intrigue going on in Nezdohva, the Iron Tsar can't form a combined army to retake Raktia, though that doesn't stop the occasional group of boyars or autocossacks from having a bit of fun at the border.
As if all that wasn't enough, there are also the Black Academies, remote vaults in which wizards summoned (and in parts still summon) Uncreated monsters to overthrow the Patrian and Dulimbaian rule around 40 years ago.
This little incursion of Uncreated Night was thankfully not big enough to destroy civilization, but it made the wilderness a dangerous place to be, and many brave Raktines have become rad monster hunters in the process.
Regency of Dulimbai
The most not-Chinese descendants of the not-Chinese invaders. They are ruled by a regent who - more out of tradition than anything else - still claims loyalty to the emperor of their distant homeland that for all intents and purposes no longer exists. Also lots of bureaucracy.
Like the Patrians, the Regency indulges in slavery. Even normal commoners don't have it much better than slaves, so they hope that their children might qualify for a higher status in the so-called Great Examinations.
Dulimbaians are kinda thick-headed and refuse to change their ancient traditions, which may or may not also include the war they have going on with the Patrians. They also have a "Everyone else is an uncivilized barbarian" attitude (the not-Youtube of the Bright Republic is nothing against the fine arts of calligraphy), though that doesn't stop them from trading with people. They'll just say it's a "tribute" or something.
The Thousand Gods
Originally a testing ground for theotechnology and Theurgy, and the birthplace of the Made Gods. When the Shattering happened, the scientists infused some of their own with divine power to protect them form the chaos. This process was a success in most cases, but the mental health of these titular gods is not exactly the best.
Many refugees from neighboring countries came swarming into this former testing ground to seek help from these new gods, forming cults that later turned into jungle kingdoms.
Nowadays, the Thousand Gods is a chaotic collection of various tribes whose gods are fighting for supremacy. As they slowly become more demanding and tyrannical, more and more people leave their former home to join the Godless, warriors who survive without divine help and may in fact be bad enough dudes to kill one of the Thousand.
Descendant from the cavalry of the not-Chinese invasion, the people of the Toba Plains are unsurprisingly not-Mongols. They still serve the regent of Dulimbai, but that has less to do with loyalty and more with him paying well for badass horse archers.
Most Tobans tend to a nomadic lifestyle, which each clan having its own general region, which of course results in occasional border incidents as young Tobans like to steal cattle and stuff.
A smaller portion of the Toban lives in monasteries known as lamaseries, which serve as both trading posts and places of ancestor whorship. The individual monasteries see each other as rivals and indulge in all sorts of backstabbing.
What is worse than being a coastal village raided by vikings? Being a coastal village raided by vikings with heavily-armored undead shock troops, who raid you not only because of loot, but because they need more undead slaves.
As rad as this sounds, being a viking in Arcem kind of blows. The Skerries are not a very nice place to live in, and the necromantic witch-queens who rule over everything are tyrannical jerks who will gleefully turn you into an undead if you didn't die honorfully in battle.
Did I mention that the draugr they'll turn you into remember a tiny bit of their former life, leaving you no refuge in blissful mindlessness?
As such, most heroic Ulstangers are probably those that have left their home behind for good.
Ulstang girls have it a bit better, as only they can become acylotes of a witch-queen to one day take her place. There's quite a bit of backstabbing going on though, and many acolytes don't last long.
Naturally, the neighboring nations hate the Ulstangers, but getting rid of them and their necromantic shenanigans is seen as too large of an undertaking, so they just content with them.
Conquered by the Patrians a looong time ago, Vissio has since become an independent nation of city-states, and its culture has split off into something more sophisticated than the martial culture of the south.
The people of Vissio are merchants and artists, tbough their Patrian heritage still shows in their well-fortified cities.
While these fortifications are great at avoiding civil wars between the rivaling city-states, they have also resulted in said conflicts behin carried out through lots of backstabbing, both in the political and the literal sense.
The most powerful tool for the literal kind of backstabbing is the Order of Redactors, also know as the Razors of God or just Razors. They're an elite group of scholar-assassins who split into two sub-factions: One wants to make the world a better place through careful assassinations, while the others just do it for cash.
The Razors - and others who can afford it - make frequent use of one of Vissio's most fabled products: Clockwork cybernetics. Hideously expensive, but they do work everywhere, unlike the stuff from the Bright Republic.
The Ways of the Realm
A bit more general stuff about Arcem, some of which I've already mentioned.
With three general branches of humans on Arcem also come three ancient tongues that have each spawned into 2-3 modern languages, most of which are used by multiple nations.
Other languages include the ever-important Trade Cant, the Holy Speech of the Thousand Gods, and the Primordial used by angels and theurges.
The weirdest languages are probably the Holy Speech (a wild mix of the survivors that fled to the Thousand Gods), and definitely Primordial. Primordial cannot be spoken by ordinary mortals, for it is less of a language and more of a display of the user's force of will over the fabric of creation. Definitely very impressive.
PCs are assumed to know the Trade Cant and whatever languages makes sense for their starting Facts. New languages can be learned with new Facts, while wielders of the Words of Knowledge or Deception can probably just learn new ones as they go along.
Low Magic Revised
Now lets look back the traditions of Low Magic and see where they fit in the setting:
- The Academy of Thoughts is the primary form of magic in the Regency of Dulimbai, which fits their perception of cultural superiority. Students of the school don't get along with ancestor worshippers as they gravitate towards atheism.
- The Cinnabar Order is the tradition of the Oasis States, and - aside of the servitors created by theotechnicians - the only surviving magical order dealing with summons. The pyramids have always need for their services, but there's a bit of friction with the upper classes as the Order refuses to have anything to do with the eugenics shenanigans.
- The Curse-Eaters are a welcome site in Raktia, for curses are about as common as monsters there.
- Theotechnicians are mainly at home in the Bright Repbulic, but the Thousand Gods have preserved more know-how from the days before the Shattering, what if it having been a testing site.
The other traditions can be found pretty much everywhere.
The Shattering and the disappearance of the only proper god did a number on people's belief. Some have stopped whorshipping anything at all, others pray to the remains of Made Gods or their ancestors. Some of these religions actually work and can keep the believers soul from landing in Hell, while others don't quite work so well.
The Church of the One
Also known as the Unitary Church and easily the largest example of organized religion in Arcem. With God gone, its priests preach about the day that he comes back to lead the souls of the worth yinto paradise.
The priests of the Church aren't really Clerics (especially not with their power source gone), but they do have access to a couple useful artifacts.
Each nation of Arcem has its own version of the Unitary Church, with general tolerance and decadency varying.
Especially popular with Ren nations, and probably the most "legit" religion as the most common way to avoid having a soul land in Hell these days requires it to stay anchored and sleeping in Arcem.
As ancestor whorship is a more of a private affair, the temples and priests don't quite have as big of a role as they have in other religions.
The Doctrine of True Reason
The weird atheism practiced in Lom, and I've already told most about it. The doctrine keeps changing every few decades or so, and it advocates reason and logic and the rulership of the intelligent and rational (aka the antipriests themselves). It's a bit 1984ish.
There are a lot of smaller cults almost everywhere. Some actually work in protecting souls, others are just nonsense, and some are orchestrated by angels and Eldritch horrors.
Next Time: Running the World - a classic Crawford-style GM toolkit chapter.
Running the WorldOriginal SA post Godbound
Today's topic: How to run an open world game with cheat codes enabled.
Running the World
It's good to be the Regent.
If you've read any of Crawford's previous works, you know that he loves him some sandbox gaming. Godbound is no exception, and it is probably the only way to play the game, for no other OSR games puts so much power into the hands of the PCs right from the get-go. Godbund truly are the movers and shakers of the world.
There do exist supernatural beings with similar powers than them, some of which have such titanic strength that they require the combined power of the whole Pantheon to take down. But by and large, Arcem is just your regular OSR fantasy world. A fletchling Godbound can be taken down by a Zerg Rush, one or more powerful mortal heroes, or a dragon. But the PCs are not alone, and they grow in power quickly. Bandits and such are no challenge for them, and the GM should build around that instead of handing out godslaying weapons to them.
As such, things work a bit differently in a Godbound campaign. Normal OSR heroes might require one or more sessions to steal important documents, solve a murder case or clear out a mine full of Kobolds. A Godbound with the proper Word and Gifts can do this in a matter of minutes. Generally, they can do things faster and on a larger scale.
As such, a GM should never get too attached to any place. NPC or story railroad. Nothing in a setting is safe from determined Godbound. If they wanna change something, they'll do it.
All of this combined plays right into Crawford's favorite sandboxing mantra: Never plan out too much into the future. It's no fun fleshing out the entire backstory of a town if the players will just plow through or re-shape the place form the ground up. If you plan ahead for more than one session, you're probably doing something wrong.
Adventures in Godbound are mainly player-driven. They have the power to change things on a big scale, and it is the job of the GM to present them with opportunities. The main building blocks for the GM are draws (reasons for why the PCs would want to interact with the opprtunity), threats (bad things that migth happen if the PCs don't intervene) and challenges (things they have to overcome to get the draw or defeat the threat). So maybe the lands the PCs are travelling through are suffering from goblin raids, and the PCs might raise some defenses or get rid of the raiders to win over new followers. Or some ancient relic is vomiting out monsters, and there might be a powerful artifact inside.
The best thing about all of this is that the GM doesn't even have to think about possible solutions and MacGuffins. PCs are pretty darn tough and have access to Miracles. They'll figure things out.
Advancement and Rewards
By default, PCs can earn up to 3 XP per session: One by default, another one if they succeeded at what they planned, and yet another one if they came across a serious challenge to their abilities.
The way levels are scaled in this game means that the PCs can quickly rise in power, but then take more and more sessions once they've reached the mid-levels. Levels 2 and 3 can be gained in a session each, while it would probably take up to 14 sessions to go from level 9 to 10.
But XP are not everything. A Godbound also needs to spend Dominion points to gain levels, for they can't strengthen their divine powers if they don't leave their mark on the world. With Dominion, they can create lasting changes in the land, or create powerful magical items.
The default assumption is to hand out 2 points of Dominion per session (1 as a default and another one if the PC stays in line with his powers), with a possible third one from his cult or treasure. This also enables a level-up per session till they reach level 3.
Unlike your typical murder hobo, Godbound don't have many uses for money themselves. It certainly helps getting along with normal humans or rewarding allies and minions, but the things Godbound are interested in - mostly artifacts and Celestial Shards to make artifacts - can't be bought with cash.
Like in Crawford's previous works, this chapter comes with a bunch of random generation tables to quickly generate the rough basis for all sorts of things. For full flexible, the GM can roll up stuff in advance and only flesh it out when the campaign calls for it.
The first thing to generate are courts. These are locales and NPCs for talky sections of an adventure. It can be an actual royal court, a thieves guild, or some village elders.
Mind you, the PCs don't necessarily have to indulge in diplomacy. After all, how's a mayor of a small town gonna stop them? Why not threaten everyone, or brainwash them?
Well, this is all fine and possible, but ideally these shortcuts will generate more hassle than if the PCs just play along. Razing a village to the ground is not very good PR, and the population will grow suspicious if their leader is acting odd.
Next up are ruins. What were they originally built for? What dangers lie within, and which treasures await?
Less general are charts for random Night Road and Shard of Heaven generation. And finally we get ourselves some Challenges.
Challenges are obstacles and other things to overcome for the Godbound to accomplish their goal. They are basically adventure seeds, which the PCs may or may not have to tackle if they want to enact a lasting change in the world.
Solving a Challenge can be tricky. Maybe the Godbound have to work against local customs and traditions, maybe solving it will release some kind of other menace.
With that out of the way, let's roll something up! How about a Night Road leading to a Shard of Heaven?
So the Night Road is sealed with a nasty seal that requires a price to be paid. It may curse anyone who wants to enter, or demand a kind of "toll".
As if that wasn't nice enough, the Night Road itself contains an ancient prison. Someone - or something - was apparently dangerous enough that he was imprisoned in the space between worlds. Lovely.
The Shard of Heaven appears to be a gigantic forge. Not just any kind of forge, but one lavishly decorated with gold and jewels. Unfortunately, the place has seen better days, and corpses can be found throughout.
Thanks to rumors about an arcane secret (maybe the creation of powerful artifacts?), a parasite god and his cult has made this place its home.
What's a parasite god? Well, they're covered in detail in the bestiary, but they're basically Godbound with an addiction, their drug being power and followers.
So yeah, you open a door by paying with your own blood, take a little trip in some freakish prison, and run into cultists of some deranged demigod who either wants to use this fancy-pants celestial forge to arm his followers, or just tries to fuse with the forge.
But that's not all. Let's turn that prison into a ruin.
*rolls some more*
Let's see. It is a prison alright, but perhaps it had a different purpose once? Maybe something went terribly wrong?
Nope, it has always been a prison.
The main hazard of the prison is a hostile environment. Maybe time was not kind to the installation, or it always had some very nasty areas to keep the inmates busy.
But what treasure can be found? Well, a transport nexus. Through teleportation or some kind of magical railway, the ruin is connected to another location. This is pretty handy considering that Godbound can't really teleport all over the multiverse, but who knows where it migth lead. Another prison? The realm that made use of the prison? Hell itself?
Now onto the current inhabitants. Before figuring out who exactly its gonna be, lets roll up their motives:
The inhabitants are stationed in the prison via orders from their boss. Their goal is to study the ruin for arcane power (probably trying to figure out the transport nexus). Leadership duties are organized in a democratic manner, and they have erected magical wards for protection (no doubt keeping the hostile environment at bay).
Their main problem is that they are running out of time, which is certainly not helped by a rival group stealing something important from them (a map?). As such, they are quite willing to negotiate with whoever they may run into.
All of this makes it sound like a bunch of mages on a field trip, trying to figure out the teleportation technology inside the prison. Well, certainly more pleasant than some nutjobs with their crazy cyborg forge god.
Now about rolling up a court?
First, we need a power structure, which in our case turns out to be Consensus, which means the court is run by several people with equal power, requiring them to mostly agree on a topic.
There are several types of courts to choose from for the next step, but a consensus court sounds like it will work well for something like a Business Court or a Community Court. Let's pick the latter for some village elders or something.
The community is certainly not a friendly place. It has a heavy martial slant and is always ready from outside aggression. Maybe the town or village is near a border of a hostile neighbor?
The three major players of the court are a rival village chief, a wealthy outsider (who both know a lot about the secret of the area) and the biggest gossip in town who also happens to be quite wealthy.
The main conflict at the moment comes from outsiders trying to buy the village land. Each conflict needs a protagonist and an antagonist. The wealthy outsider makes for an obvious bad guy (it is probably he who wants to buy the land, no doubt because he knows of gold or treasure hidden there), while the gossip will probably protect his village. The rival chief is most likely unsure which side to take; he'd probably have fun seeing his rivals get screwed over, but what if he is next?
If the PCs or anyone else feels like being a dick and wreck the place, they will destroy an important trade link in the region (so it's a trade town). But first, they have to get through the guardian spirit protecting the place, which looking at their martial spirit could be a statue of a warrior that comes to life in time of need.
And now let's throw in a couple minor actors for this little drama. We have a native prodigy, a barfly, a bandit, and a shabby vagabond.
I'm sure the prodigy is BFF with the gossip, and the bandit and vagabond seem shady enough to work for the wealthy outsider. The barfly will probably get himself stabbinated if he overhears the wrong discussion.
Godbound - not even fantasy realms are safe from real estate speculation.
Next Time: Changing the World - or how PCs can mess with the setting.
Changing the WorldOriginal SA post Godbound
Today's topic: How to play an open world game with cheat codes enabled.
Changing the World
My home is my floating rock castle with waterfalls.
When a Godbound tries to re-shape part of the world, he has access to two ways of messing around. Each of them works by enacting a change into the world.
Going back to Godbounds slight FATE aspects, imagine of a location or city had Facts like a PC. While the latter might have "Former Sand Prince from the Oasis States" or "Murder-Hobo" as a Fact, a city could have "Rich fishing grounds" or "Disease-ridden". A change allows a Godbound to add, alter or remove such a Fact.
The simplest and most straight-forward way is the typically murder-hobo approach, in which the Godbound uses his direct actions and powers to change something. Clearing out a dungeon, finding a cure for a disease, slaying a monster.
For the here and now, these kinds of changes are fine. But as soon as the Godbound are done and gone, things are out of their control and can quickly return to were they were. Or become worse. Maybe the disease comes back, or maybe new monsters fill the power vacuum.
Long-term changes can include the alteration of an entire region, changing an entire society, or using bribes and/or brainwashing to take control of a court. These changes come with a cost, and require the Godbound to have a Word with which to justify accomplishing these changes.
When paying for these changes (which a Godbound can do either alone or with his Pantheon buddies), the Godbound can draw from two pools of resources:
Influence is equal to your Level + 1. It is an abstract measure of the Godbound taking care of thing directly off-screen. Influence points can be withdrawn from a change, but leaving such a gap will solely make things return back to status quo. The altered region will return to its non-magical state (within reasons of course; mountains and such won't just vanish into thin air). The society will go back to its roots. The court will start to become independent again. Any Theurge academy you kept running will suffer from brain drain, as both teachers and students go their own ways.
Dominion is gained from whorshippers and accomplishing worthy deeds. There's no upper limit to how much Dominion you can have, but spent Dominion points are gone for good. On the plus side, changes performed through Dominion are permanent without the Godbound having to oversee everything. The only way to revert such a change is by cancelling it out with Dominion of your own, or going through great lengths to wreck the changes.
So how much does it cost to change something? Well, it depends on the scope and general outrageousness of the change.
A change's scope comes in five tiers: Village (1), City (2), Region (4), Nation (8) or Realm (16). Village is good for a few square miles or 1,000 people, while Realm can affect all of Arcem and billions of people. This base cost is the multiplied by how crazy the change is.
As an example, lets assume one of the PCs hails from a nomad tribe and wants them to settle down to build a city and eventually a mighty empire with the PCs as their pantheon.
So far so good, now onto the multiplier. A simple x1 would be required for a plausible change, one that would probably not even require a whole lot of demi-divine intervention to occur. They're probably used to making huts, so they can probably figure out how to make a Roman-style camp with simple fortifications.
But a single change is not enough in this case. For you see, the Godbound also has to convince his people to stop their nomadic ways. Depending how deeply they are ingrained in their lifestyle, this could present either another plausible change or an implausible one with a x2 multiplier.
Bumping the city up to implausible would also allow us to cheat a bit, as it allows us to make use of any know-how and resources in the realm. If any kingdom out there has some fancy metropolis with gigantic stone walls, so can we. Even if there are no stones anywhere to be found.
Finally we have extraordinary (x4) changes, which allows you to do anthing the GM let's us get away with. Now our metropolis can float in the air. And may or may not have energy barriers.
A Godbound can freely make adjustments to a change as long as it wouldn't change the underlying cost. Expanding it in such a way that the cost would increase just has you pay the difference in Influence and Dominion. And if you think that your flying death city can wait, you can instead opt for several plausible or implausible changes first to build towards making the extraordinary a but more plausible.
It would be all fine and dandy if Godbound could just change the world however they wished. Unfortunately, there are a couple things that can get in the way.
Mundus Wards are protective wards from before the Shattering that resist the use of divine power. They have a rating of 1-20 (though any Ward that has survived to the present day rarely has more than 4 left), which is added to the base cost of any change. The only way to get rid of this point tax is to either destroy the Ward (which can be tricky, as they are well hidden) or get a hold of a ward's key that protects you from the effect.
Rival Godbound, Theurges and other powerful beings can also thwart your plans. They work like Mundus Wards, adding 1 to 8 points to the base cost depending on how powerful the being is. Multiple beings resisting your change thankfully don't stack directly, they just add +1 to the worst penalty.
So before your mighty city can take off into the sky, you might have to "persuade" a wizard or two.
Also, any change more outlandish that plausible requires some kind of adventure or quest, either to persuade people or gather necessary ingredients (mostly celestial shards). Failing such a quest doesn't make the change impossible, but certainly more expensive.
Changing societies and regions is fun, but how about playing god? Altering or even creating living beings is also a type of change. So let's give our former nomads wings!
A plausible change lets you make people proficient in a common skill (if say you want to turn farmers into HD 1 warriors). An improbable change either makes them experts in a common skill or proficient in an esoteric skill (turning farmers into veteran HD 2 warriors or low-level magicians). These changes are easy enough that they will pass on to future generations without issues.
Impossible changes on the other hand let you straight up create creatures (with HD equal to 2 + half your level) or boost humans to be that strong. This also lets you slap supernatural abilities onto your people, like say wings.
Really crazy stuff (like I dunno, turning people into crystal dragons) might warrant a x8 multiplier, usually limiting this experiment to a small number of beings.
Impossible changes on creatures can be passed on to their offsprings like plausible and improbable ones, but they come with a limit. You pick a scope like usual and then decide how exactly the scope takes effect: If applied to the area, the change will affect any offspring born there. If applied to the people, it will continue to affect offsprings until the scope has hit its upper cap.
If say we pick the scope of City, we could make it so that all of our people born in our city (which can be as large as ten square miles) are born with wings. Alternatively, we could grant wings to all offsprings no matter where they are born, but each winged person is added to a running total. Once that total caps out (which for the City scope happens at 100,000 people) the change becomes dilluted and vestigial.
(And of course, Godbound and similar beings can't modify each other with these changes. They are just not malleable enough)
If a Godbound pours all its power into making a single creature, the result can be far more powerful, with the HD being equal to 5 + twice the Godbound's level, with multiple attacks and actions. This can either be a brand new creature, or a loyal follower that has been dramatically beefed up.
Unfortunately, ensuring that the being will be loyal cuts your effective level in half, but that's still pretty nifty for a not-Animal Companion.
Lastly, Godbound can also use changes to create magical items. Unlike your normal d20 character, scopes allow Godbound to do this on a large scale, easily outfitting entire armies with magical weapons and armor. Unfortunately, mass-producing this stuff limits its power (aka no more than a +1 enhancement).
As mentioned earlier, as soon as a Godbound hits level 2 he can start his own cult, with holy teachings and everything. In order to be taken seriously, he needs at least a village worth of followers, which will form the basis of the Godbound's own Faction (more on those later).
Cults are a Godbound's most important source for Dominion points. By default, the cult grants him an amount of Dominion equal to its Power as a Faction per month. A Godbound can squeeze additional Dominion out of his cult by making harsher demands and turning his faith more high-maintenance. Depending on how strongly these demands affect everyday life, the cult will generate one or two additional points of Dominion per month. The downside of this is that it weakens the cult as a Faction and makes it more prone to problems and collapse.
You certainly don't want to have a "I demand a human sacrifice each day, and nobody shall eat anything that throws a shadow" kind of cult going on unless you are comfortable with babsitting them all the time.
If you don't want to bother with followers, you can instead become a Free Divinity. By giving up the follower-related Gifts of the Apotheosis Word and becoming unable to have proper followers, you preserve your own divine energy and become self-sufficient, generating one point plus a 1/3 of your level in Dominion each level.
This decision has to be made at level 2 when you would otherwise get your first Apotheosis Gift, and it can't be changed aside from GM fiat.
Factions, Nations, and Organizations
Godbound's Faction rules are similar to previous renditions in other Crawford products, but they are much more rules light and FATE-ish in execution.
The main stat of a Faction is its Power, which among other things determines the size of the Faction's Action Die, which is rolled for pretty much everything the Faction does. Power ranges from 1 (Action Die 1d6) for villages and starting cults and goes to 5 for an empire that spans the entire realm (Action Die 1d20).
Cohesion are the hit points of a Faction. The maximum Cohesion is equal to the Faction's Power, and if it reaches zero it will cause the Faction to collapse and fall apart.
Features are like Assets in previous renditions of these Factions rules in that Factions are all about creating own Features and trying to destroy those of enemy Factions. But instead of having a list with clearly-defined Assets, Features are like Facts in that they are short sentences that describe a trait or, well, feature of the Faction.
Really important Features can be made up of several parts, which opens the gate for Monty Python jokes ("Amongst their weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency...")
Problems are negative Features. They are things that get in the way of the Faction's every actions. These can be bandits, general corruption, or the daily sacrifices required by their dickish Godbound. Each Problem has a point value assigned to it, which is usually 1 or 2 except for really big problems.
The sum of all Problems is the Trouble score. All lot of actions performed by a Faction require a Trouble check, which requires it to roll over the Trouble score on its Action Die. Naturally, this means that the Faction will collapse if the Trouble score ever gets equal or greater than the Action Die's maximum possible result.
Interest is an interesting little resource that Factions can accumulate in other Factions, representing how much influence they have there. These Interest points can later be spend to either harm or assist that Faction, depending on whether it is a friend or foe. You can for example steal Dominion points or buff/debuff Action Die rolls. A Faction can never have more than twice its maximum Action Die roll stashed at a single other Faction.
Factions also generate their own Dominion, but they are limited to plausible and improbable changes.
Aside from the above Trouble check, there are also Contests to be rolled if two Factions are opposed. This usually has them pit Features against each other and trying to roll a higher number on their Action Die. If the Features are a bit uneven in usefulness for that situation (say if they have "Guys with pointy sticks" and you have "Winged Warriors with magitek rifles"), the side that has the advantage can gain a bonus to its roll.
If the Feature used doesn't really have a whole lot to do with the situation at hand, the Faction has to roll twice and take the lower result. An example would be countering the winged warriors with "Our treasury is bursting at the seams" (the gold can't help you against attackers, but you can probably hire a couple mercenaries).
Factions perform their action each Faction Turn, which usually happens about once per month. Actions are divided into Internal Actions, External Actions and Special Actions:
Internal Actions include Build Strength (try to generate Dominion), Enact Change (spend the Dominion for a change) and Restore Cohesion (patch yourself up).
External Actions include Aid an Ally (give an ally Dominion), Attack Rival (more on that in a second), Extend Interest (build up interest in another Faction), Remove Interest (get that Interest off your lawn).
The only Special Action around is Spend Interest, which as I've already mentioned lets you cash in Interest to help or annoy the Faction in question.
Now back to Attack Rival. It's a Contest in which the attacker picks his Feature to "attack" (trying to enforce a change upon the other Faction) and the defender picks a Feature to defend. The attacking Feature has to fit to what the attacker is trying to do (raiding the land, getting rid of spies, economic war,...). Likewise, the defending Feature has to fit at least somewhat or the defender can't do anything.
If the defender loses the Contest, he has the choice of either taking a hit to Cohesion (aka resisting the change at the cost of stability), sacrificing the defending Feature (or removing a part for long Features) or allowing the change to happen (which generally manifests as a new Problem, or it boosts an existing Problems).
The latter option is particularly nasty if the attacker has a higher Power score than the defender, as the Problem gains additional points equal to the difference in Power.
Naturally, you can also quickly roll up goals, problems and features for Factions.
Next Time: Foes of Heaven - Time for Celestial Combat.
Foes of HeavenOriginal SA post Godbound
So the PCs are coked to the gills with epic-level awesomeness. So, what are they gonna fight? Hopefully something as rad as this:
Foes of Heaven
This one's just begging for a guitar photoshop.
As typical for an OSR game, creature statblocks are quite small and only contain the most vital combat stats (AC, Move, HD, Save, Attack, Damage, Morale, and in Godbound's case Effort).
Several creatures also have a Tactics table which lists special abilities or behavior. As these tables always contain six entries, the GM can just roll them up for creatures that act a bit erratic.
A special type of enemy are powerful supernatural foes. These are your Outsiders, Magical Beasts, Aberrations, or just really anything noteworthy that might be a danger to a Godbound, or several of them.
Most of these supernatural foes are immune against non-magical attacks, and their own attacks count as magic themselves. Furthermore, they can do the whole "spend Effort to no-sell a Save-or-Whatever effect", and their normal attacks generally deal straigth damage to avoid rolling too many dice all the time.
In order to be a greater threat to a group of Godbound, these foes typically have not only multiple attacks, but also multiple actions, each of which can be used to move and use all of their attacks.
Supernatural foes, powerful spellcasters and bad enough heroes in general can often mimic effects from Gifts, sometimes even having access to Words and miracles. This doesn't actually mean they have divine powers like Godbound, just that they can pull of similar effects. This means that these mockups can generally be dispelled by lesser magic.
She has seen better days.
As mentioned several times, angels in Godbound have become batshit crazy, or are at least suffering from severe anger management issues. Aside from a small band of loyalists gathered around the former Warden of Hell Sammael, angels are extremely dangerous beings hell-bent on getting rid of mankind for good. Some angels just go around smashing Celestial Engines, while others are more subtle and try to corrupt humans to effectively troll them into Hell.
All angels have the special abilities Unmade (their normal attacks always deal straight damage), Unfettered (silly Jedi Mind Tricks don't work on them) and Unborn (each angel was created with one aspect of nature, which effectively gives them access to a Word with which to use Miracles and maybe even Gifts).
The types of angels presented here are the run-of-the-mill Angelic Guardian (HD 10), the Angelic Ravager (HD 15) who used to be a celestial engineer before deciding to smash Celestial Engines, the Angelic Regent (HD 20) who schemes and can take the appearance of just about every mortal, and the Angelic Tyrant (HD 50) who used to guard over a major concept of reality.
The Ravager is the most limited in terms of mobility as he can't fly. Guardians can do that, and the Regent and Tyrant don't need to because they can just teleport (with the Tyrant being able to teleport to anything within sight range, as if he wasn't already scary enough). Typical tactics include blasting everything with an AoE attack, moving to a better position, buffing themselves with Miracles and attacking or trying to save-or-die a target chosen according to a theme (Ravagers try to kill the enemies with the finest equipment, while Tyrants go for the most insulting one). Regents can speed up their minions, while the Tyrant has a neat ability that makes him bark an order at an enemy dealing double damage to him if he disobeys.
Angels also show that the tactic aren't always too useful. The Tyrant sometimes just makes himself invincible for a round to sit back and watch his minions fight for him.
These guys are high- or even epic-level spellcasters, like wizards, priests or lichs. They all have at least the Sorcery Word and know Theurgy, with access to a strange and varied assortment of minions.
Eldritch can be pretty dangerous in that they are not only the closest to a Godbound mortals (or former mortals) can get, but they have sometimes gained their powers through a pact with the Uncreated, and they love nothing more than causing a mortal wizard to open a new Night Road for them.
Eldritch presented here come in Lesser (HD 16), Greater (HD 22) and Master (HD 36) variety. Tactics include general buffing and debuffing, getting as much distance to enemies while preferrable raising additional obstacles, and charging for a round to then hit automatically with max damage.
"Witness my spiky cheesecake armor!"
The artifically-created gods from shortly before the Shattering. Built to embody the ideals of their people, not all of them were raging combat beasts, but most of the nicer ones were the first ones to die.
Nowadays, the few remaining Made Gods reside either in their own Paradise, an isolated Shard of Heaven, or their own little realm in which they hide from the wrath of the angels.
Made Gods come in various shapes and sizes, but they are all HD 50 monstrosities who sport the most damaging basic attack in the game, a blast attack dealing 2d10 straigth damage (where everyone else caps out at 1d12 straight). That's one ordinary level 11 murder hobo per shot, and they can blast up to six times per round (3 actions with 2 attacks each).
If that wasn't bad enough, they also always hit, always make their saves, and have effectively unlimited Effort with which to use their Gifts and Miracles. PCs better be prepared.
If no other Made God or a Godbound is around, they also automatically brainwash any HD 1-2 creature in sigh to be their loyal minions. And if you manage to unmake a Made God, they die in a big explosion (though instead of an actual explosion, they might just curse everything in the area or cause some other lasting effect).
Tactics are pretty funny for Made Gods. They might just waste an entire round showing off, alpha strike the poor fool who insulted them, or just try to hit as many people with as many different attacks as possible (aka showing off in a more useful way).
Misbegotten are essentially mutants. If they weren't created on purpose (like say a chimera), they were twisted and changed through the various after-effects of the Shattering. Some Misbegotten are simple humans and animals with weird but harmless mutations, while others have been turned into dangerous beasts.
Misbegotten can act as cannon fodder (albeit one with access to at least one Gift-like ability) or boss encounter. The Misbegotten presented here include the Minor Misbegotten (HD 1-5), the Titanic Beast (HD 15), and the Twisted Ogre (HD 20).
The most dickish tactic goes to the Ogre, who can sacrifice a minion to distract an opponent for max damage.
Since Godbound can plow through normal mortals like in Dynasty Warriors, the GM can combine this cannon fodder into Mobs for easier management.
Mobs don't come with an exact quantity of members, but instead have their size eyeballed depending on how much space they take: a Small Mob can fill a large room, a Large Mob can block a street, and a Vast Mob is as big as a military unit.
Mobs use the same statblock as the creature their composed of, with additional attacks (x1 / x2 / x3) and HD (10 + 2x base HD / 2x Small / 3x Small) depending on the size. When determining whether or not the Mob is a lesser foe, they always use their base HD.
Mobs don't really need to move, as they simply fill up space, which in most cases encompasses the entire are the battle is fought. Every enemy within reach can be hit with their full array of attacks. Any special abilities and attacks can also be used on everyone and they don't reduce their number of available attacks, but a Mob can't use more than one ability per round.
The big weakness of Mobs is that area effects deal straigth damage, which can add up quickly with the Corona of Fury or other Fireball-equivalents.
To spice things up, there are two abilities specific to Mobs: Overwhelm grants them access to a special attack (pack tactics, focus fire, a combined magic attacks...) that hits a single foe automatically unless they make a Save, the exact type of Save depending on the Mob.
Blood Like Water is for Mobs that just swarm over their opponents with no regards towards defense, like a zombie horde or vermin. They hit their enemies automatically, but so do they.
Example Mobs include Furious Peasants (HD 12 / 24 / 36), Trained Soldiers (HD 12 / 24 / 36), Elite Warriors (HD 16 / 32 / 48), Brazen Legion aka warbots (HD 20 / 40 / 60), Undead Horde (HD 12 / 24 / 36, through that's probably supposed to be 14 / 28 / 32 as they're describe as HD 2 critters) and Verminous Swarm (HD 12 / 24 / 36).
"Oh shit! A druid!"
A selection of normal humans and animals to encounter, typically as minions or Mobs. Since this isn't a d20 game were you have skill ranks that are tied to your level, Godbound is helpful in reminding us that important political figures can live just fine with 1 or 2 HD, instead of requiring them to be high-level badasses by default.
Common Humans include your typical cannon fodder: Civilian (HD 1), Warrior (HD 1) and Veteran (HD 2).
Exceptional Humans are your typical murder hobos: Minor Hero (HD 4), Major Hero (HD 8) and Skilled Mage (HD 6). These guys are usually bad enough dudes to get Gift-like effects and using their Effort to no-sell. The Mage is not skilled enough to know Theurgy, though.
Pack Animals are all those critters that are typically found in Mobs: Petty Vermin aka rats and insects (HD 1), Pack Hunters like wolves (HD 1), and Big Hunters like lions or warhorses (HD 3).
Lone Beasts are not necessarily loners, but they do pose a threat all on their own: Lone Hunters like tigers and sharks (HD 4), Big Grazers like elephants (HD 7), and Predator Kings like the biggest and meanest grizzly around (HD 12).
These guys are the Godbounds' junkie brothers. Created when a damaged Celestial Engine leaks out energy than then latches onto a mortal, they present a (at least initially) more subtle effect of the slow but steady decay caused by the Shattering. They have access to a Word, complete with Gifts and Miracles.
Parasite are frequently "blessed" with physical mutations and insanity, but their most dangerous trait is their insatiable hunger for the celestial energy that was never meant to be theirs in the first place. As such, they like to create their own cults to be worshipped, but even the nices and least messed-up Parasite God will eventually be turned into a cruel, self-destructive tyrant due to his hunger.
The "parasite" in their name stems from them siphoning off celestial energy meant to keep natural laws running. As such, the area they hang out in will sooner or later deteriorate, with magical disasters and Night Roads popping up.
Luckily, most Parasite Gods are generally tied to that very area (which can be as small as a building or as big as a continent), and they will die in a matter few days if they leave it. This generally puts a cap on how fast they can gobble up energy (much to the detriment of their sanity), though some Parasite Gods can figure out that a big and powerful enough group of followers can prepare other areas for his unending hunger.
The book presents three tiers of Parasite God: The Weak God (HD 15), Established God (HD 25) and Dread God (HD 40). Tactics include attacking people who defy their authority and indulging in divine ecstasy, which basically boils down to them getting drunk on celestial power and wasting their round spamming powers with no regards on whether or not that would be useful to do.
This section also comes with a specific example Parasite God: the Weak God known as the Buried Mother.
The Buried Mother might just be one of the first Parasite Gods. Born shortly before - or during - when the fight against the Ren invaders damaged a Celestial Engine and "blessed" her with the Word of Earth. She has since been shackled to the ruins of her community the destroyed when they refused to worship her.
Her still only being a Weak God after the 1,000 or so years has to do with the isolated area she's bound to and her severe lack of followers (which she has to make herself out of stone, though they don't quite do it for her). Any unfortunate mortal who stumbles upon her will be quickly forced to worship himself to death.
She appears as a giantess wearing jeweled cloth. She's probably up to 14 feet tall, but that's hard to tell for sure because her lower body always stays buried in the earth (hence her name).
In combat, she makes use of her customized Earth Gifts: Rocky Snare (imprison people with improptu walls), Stony Grasp (grab a guy), Swim the Earth (exactly what it sounds like) and Topple the Stones (hurl stones or topple pillars for an earth-based line attack).
Mordor, or Boatmurdered?
Relicts are the remnants of a civilization or entire realm that has long since gone. Some are actual living beings, while others are artifical in nature.
Timeworn are the inhabitants of realms that have collapsed. They should be dead for all intents and purposes, but they've managed to survive due to spontaneous mutations. If their realm no longer has gravity or air, they might be able to fly and use the sun for sustenance.
Still, their prett much dead realm typically has only a few resources left to live off, and they will attack any visitor with said resources like a horde of zombies. Negotiating with them is not an easy task, but whoever manages to restore their realm will gain a bunch of devout followers.
The example creature for this type of Relict is the Timeworn Survivor (HD 1-3), who often go after the enemy who appears to have the most loot.
Automatons are naturally various types of constructs, found in ancient ruins and otherwise dead realms. Some still follow their original programming, while others might've developed a kind of free will.
The example Automaton presented is the Guardian Automaton (HD 12), who can repair himself and may still try to call reinforcements or alert its masters, even if neither exist anymore.
The Lusae are Timeworn on steroids. After centuries of twisting laws of nature and heavy mutations, they have turned into bizarre and utterly chaotic monstrosities that more often than not no longer resemble what they used to be.
The example critter for these lovely fellows is the Ancient Lusus (HD 20). It's tactics mainly consist of lashing out and creating general chaos.
Aside from our typical druids and lycanthropes, shapeshifters in Godbound can also originate from strange experiments from before the Shattering, having natural shapeshifting abilities from their genes. These type of shapeshifters were created either as part of a transhumanist experiment, or to act as more efficient assassins.
One such type of assassin are the Many-Skinned. They are sleeper agents, living a perfectly normal life until their genetic "programming" activates on their 18 birthdays, granting them the ability to take on the form of any humanoid between 3 and 8 feet, a resistance against mental effects, immortality insofar that they no longer age, and the irresistible urge to "kill the enemy" - which more often than not means the civilization they grew up in.
Most Many-Skinned are horrified by this urge and try to find ways to cheat their programming. Others just give in and become very efficient killers. Basically a high-fantasy version of the Faceless Men from Game of Thrones.
The example Many-Skinned presented here is a Veteran Assassin (HD 15), who has many centureis of experience and a couple Gifts to back it up.
If PCs try to shapeshift, they can do so to take on the movement mode of the creature they transform into, as well as any ability they need to survive (like breathing underwater for a fish). Using a more extraordinary ability (like a dragon's breath attack) requires them to commit Effort.
Aside from gaining a natural attack whose damage depends on the creature's size, the shapeshifter's comat stats are unaffected. You could turn your soldiers into an army of rhinos, but that won't actually make them tougher. For that, you gotta use Dominion to modify them.
Spirits are insubstantial creatures that can only interact with the physical world through special abilities or special bodies or shells for them to use.
Elementals are raw elemental power without much sentience, acting more as a walking hazard than an actual creature. They can fashion a shell out of their own element.
Eidolons are ghosts, the souls of the dead who for some reason or another have been bound to a specific place. They will generally try to protect this place and affect the world of the living by possessing intruders.
Anima are pretty much constructs; Artifical spirits still following their original programming, only being able to shells that someone built for them.
Aside from these differences in origin, they all come in Minor (HD 5) , Major (HD 15) and Mighty (HD 30) varieties, with a few Gifts to use.
There are two ways to summon creatures: Either with the Low Magic traditions of the Cinnabar Order or the Theotechnicians, or through a Miracle. The latter is much more flexible in terms of what can be summoned, and most of the examples listed here focus on the Low Magic varieties:
The Cinnabar Order can make use of Sparks (HD 2 or 4) and Conflagrations (HD 8), fire beings with strong pyromanic tendencies.
Theotechnicians on the other hand can build Drones (HD 2 or 4) and the much more humanoid Iconodules (HD 8).
Dickish Eldritch might decide to summon some Uncreated beings, namely the Shade (HD 3 or 6) and the Unbidden (HD 10). They come in all sorts of shapes and act very erratic, but they don't come with all the nasty abilities of a purer Uncreated.
The primordial horrors that threaten all of reality. They typicall have the basic outline of a humanoid or beast, but are utterly twisted and bizarre to look at, like Lovecraft meets The Thing or something.
The scariest part of these Uncreated is that they have abilities that can counter divine powers: The Black Consumption lets them Commit Effort to no-sell any Gift or Miracle, while The Cold Breath is some kind of anti-divine aura that forces Godbound to commit up to 5 Effort to overcome it and actually use their abilities.
Uncreated also make use of Words and Gifts, though their powers manifest in a twisted or perverted form, like cold fire or water that's actually a bunch of gore.
Uncreated presented here include the Stalking Horror (HD 7), who is very sneaky and backstabby and can make the next Gift used by anyone explode in their face, and the Hulking Abomination (HD 30) who just smashes things, causes AoE damage or just makes his foes attack each other.
Undead in this game come in two varieties: Lesser Undead are mindless automatons that are weak, but easy to create and utterly loyal. Greater Undead still have a soul and can remember their past life more or less clearly. They are also harder to create and might turn on its master if he's not careful, but they are a lot more resistant to getting roflstomped by a Godbound with the Death Word than a Lesser Undead.
Ancalian Husks (HD 1) are the zombies created from all the crap going on in Ancalia after the appearance of the Night Roads. They are mainly good for Mob material and just swarm their prey without much tactical finesse.
War-Draugr (HD 5) are the heavily-armored shock troopers of the Ulstang raiders. They sometimes have Gifts of the Sword and Endurance Word, and they fight without any regard for themselves because Hell sounds a lot nicer to them then their current existence.
Dried Lords (HD 25) are basically mummies, being imbued with the soul of an ancient warlord or priests. Some of them can have vast magical powers, but those are better represented as Eldritch.
Creating New Foes
One of the most important stats when creating or adapting a creature is its Hit Dice. Most other stats roughly correlate to that number, with a soft cap in place after which additional HD mostly serve to be more effective at fighting an entire group of Godbound.
As for these caps, AC should never be lower than 0, Saves should rarely be better than 5+ except for truly titanic opponents, and if you really want a better Attack Bonus than +10, you might as well just make it auto-hit. When using a Gift that depends on a Godbound's level, a creature is considered to have a level equal to half its Hit Dice, with an upper limit of 10.
For balance purposes, a creature supposed to handle a group of Godbound should have a number of HD equal to 10 plus twice the total levels of the Godbound. Otherwise, it could just end up getting alpha-striked in round one.
As typical for Crawford games, you get a table of generic foes to reflavor or use as a benchmark, ranging from a Common Human (HD 1) to a Divine Monstrous Beast (HD 20).
If you want some quick inspiration, you can roll up movement options, attack patterns, defensive and impairing abilities for the creature to use.
Very handy for both the GM and players alike is a section on Styling Powers and Abilities, which lists each Word and gives example on how powers and attacks using that Word might look like. My favorites definitely include Command (force enemies to commit suicide), Endurance (have attacks bounce off your pecks and hit the attacker) and Wealth (bury people in gold, pierce them with diamonds, or bribe them to kill each other). Fun stuff.
After some useful tips on managing combat (keep notes handy and don't forget to dispell stuff), we also get a sidebar about converting creatures from other games, to make something like this:
AC: 0 Move: 20'
Hite Dice: 48 Save: 3+
Attack: Three automatic hits Damage: 1d8 straight
Morale: 11 Effort: 16
The Tarrasque has two actions per round and is imbued with the Endurance Word, making it impossible to be truly killed by non-divine means.
(This one's based on its 3.X incarnation, and you can port over most of its abilities from that game. Frightful Presence for example would probably end up forcing a Morale check on anyone in sight. I'd also give it some crazy AoE jump attack, or an energy breath.)
Next Time: Treasures Beyond Price - items worthy of a god.
Treasures Beyond PriceOriginal SA post Godbound
It's the last chapter of the free version, covering your demigod's magical item needs.
Treasures Beyond Price
Talk to the hand.
Also this "Godwalker" doesn't actually appear in this chapter, but rather in the next one that's only in the paid book. I'm not complaining, that's a pretty awesome tease.
Artifacts, aka powerful magical (or magitek) items from before the Shattering, are exceedingly rare. Few have survive the Shattering and the thousand years since, and the ones that are still in working condition are most certainly not available in the open market. Kings and other powerful persons hoard them, only allowing them to be used by themselves or loyal subjects.
If a hero wants to get his hand on an artifact, he might just get one as a gift from one of the above hoarders. Most of the time though, he has to venture into ancient ruins and dungeons to find an as of yet uncovered artifact for himself.
Godbound and other beings capable of spending Dominion have another option: They can actually create new artifacts. Doing so is still a quest in and of itself, for the creation of such a powerful item requires celestial shards, which might just require a little venture into a piece of Heaven.
By whatever means the above hero gets access to an artifact, he better only use it as sparingly as possible, for all artifacts suffer from the One Ring Syndrome: Because they are fueled by divine energies not meant for a simple meatbag to handle, they will generally do weird stuff to a mortal's mind and/or body should he use it for too long. A slight exception of this are artifacts specifically meant to be used by the mortal champion of a divine being, in which case the drawbacks are a bit less severe.
Teasures and Wealth
This section starts with Godbound's Wealth system which I've already covered: Cash and other simple treasures are handled with a non-linear Wealth score, rated from 1 (richest man in a village) to 10 (an emperor).
The most interesting thing of note is that Godbound is pretty lenient in terms of PC-generated wealth. After all, the Word of Artifice can just create mundane objects from nothing, and the Word of Wealth can just generate gold and stuff. The book tells us to not worry about having those Words go wild (the PCs did spend some of their resources into being able to pull this off, after all), though they should be careful not to wreck the local economy. A purchase worth 5 Wealth per month is generally acceptable, and it really doesn't sound too bad considering that gives the Godbound the lifestyle of one of the richest merchants.
And for the GM who needs some quick ideas, you can roll up treasures on a couple tables. No actual wealth or anything, just descriptive stuff, like how the treasure looks, how it is guarded and who may want it.
Not only can Godbound not make use of the omnipresent +x bonuses found in normal d20 magical items, but artifacts don't have them period. If a mortal picks up an artifact weapon, he doesn't merely get better hat hitting stuff, he gets to play around with divine powers.
The way artifacts work is actually pretty simple: They're a container for Godbound effects. Mostly Gifts, but may also be tied more closely to a Word, allowing for Miracles, dispelling, and/or access to the passive effects gained form having a specific Word (which is really the only way to gain some kind of a +x bonus, as several Word bump up an Attribute).
Constant Gifts are always active, but everything else needs to be activate from the artifact's own pool of Effort, which works like normal Effort except that it is always committed for the day. Their usage is further limited because the Effort is solely for the Artifacts own Gifts and powers. They can't be used for the wielder's own tricks, and neither can the wielder use his own Effort to power up the artifact.
Furthermore, before one can even use the artifact's power in the first place, one has to commit Effort for the day to bond with it. Failure to do so requires one to wait 24 hours before trying again.
The cost of creating an artifact is paid in Dominion (based on which powers it has and how big its Effort pool is) and celestial shards (which is just its Dominion cost / 6, rounded up). The higher the Godbound's level, the more stuff he can put in a single artifact. The power of their Gifts is either derives from the creator's or wielder's level, whichever is greater.
A mortal hero might suffer sever repercussions from using an artifact, but boy is it worth it if if was created by a level 10 Godbound.
All in all, artifacts are a great way to gain extra utility, and work perfect to simulate stuff like Personas or Stands.
Still, just using the normal Gifts is easy, so each of the example artifacts presented in this chapter come with their own custom Gifts:
A nifty little utility artifact created by a pacifist Made God whose people had to be constantly on the move from his crazier colleagues. If planted on the ground, it allows the user to "grow" buildings and infrastructure from the bedrock with Birth of the Metropolis. It can create enough buildings to accomodate 500 people per day, and even fortifications are possible.
Heart of the City is the lesser of this artifact's Gifts, and it lets the user keep watch over any city created with the Seed, as well as allowing them to communicate with anyone in there.
Mortal users must make Spirit saves each day. After three failures, their sanity takes a nosedive, and they become obsessed with expanding the city more and more.
Etheric Energy Node
These are the large nodes used by the Bright Republic to keep their cyberpunk going. Unsurprisingly, their main shtick is Rectification of Names, which stabilizes natural laws in a 30-mile radius and sends out wireless energy.
Their second function is called Focused Flow Control, which lets the user shut down devices inside the Node's radius, provided they haven't been hardened to work outside of the Republic.
The Etheric Energy Nodes are perhaps the most harmless for a mortal operator. The only danger they can run into is the Focused Flow Control, as that one requires them to pass a save-or-die Hardiness check to avoid getting fried.
Flute of the Joyous Tyrant of Bright Feathers
A flute created and used by the eponymous Joyous Tyrant, a Made God an extinct race of birdfolk. Its powers revolve around summoning birds to attack: Mistress of Sweet Song lets you communicate with avians or re-enact Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds by summoning every small bird within 50 miles to murder the crap out of any HD 1 creature or smaller Mob in the area. This takes 5 minutes to apply, though.
Alternatively, you can go for something more Princess-Tutu-ish and summon spirit-crows to auto-hit an already wounded target, at a cost of losing 1 Hit Point yourself.
Prolongued usage of the flute by a mortals makes them gradually lose their sense of individuality, accompanied by a growing joyous obedience to whomever they consider their superior.
The God-King's Resplendent Barge
A giant (700 by 300 feet) metal airship, likely created by a Made God and used by the eponymous God-King Zereus to overwatch his empire and smite rebels.
The Barge is not only pretty friggin' huge, but it also has an arsenal of four Gifts:
Adamant Keel not only allows the user to dispell Artifice powers, but also sets its combat stats (HD 30, AC 3, immune against non-magical attacks).
A Chariot of the God-King sets its capabilities as an airship (top speed 20 m/h, unaffected by non-magical weather, can carry up to 1,000 passengers, each with 500 pounds of cargo).
Ever-Renewed Hull cuts down on the maintenance costs as it allows the user to commit Effort to replenish HD (10 HD per 1 Effort, with the Barge having a pool of 5).
Rebuke Those Below is the Barge's main attack, a solar beam that hits everything in a 100-ft. radius for 5d6 fire damage.
The Impervious Panoply of Lady Yelem
Deadly and fabulous.
Yelem was yet another Made God, one that upheld the protection of her people above all else - that is unless she decided that sacrificing a "few" individuals to protect the greater whole was acceptable enough to drown her enemies in cannon fodder. She eventually met her doom at the hands of her thousand daughters, when she no longer had any soldier left to take a hit for her. Her armor might still be around, though.
The Impervious Panoply is an example of regalia armor, magical armor that looks far less impractical than it actually is. In the Panoply's case, this is represented with the Impervious Splendor Gift, a Natural AC 3 Gift (aka pretty good armor with the Saving Throw penalties associated with armor) that automatically dispells any attempts to change its appearance.
The main gimmick of this artifact though is A Stainless Hauberk, which lets the wearer no-sell damage by having an ally within 100 ft. willingly sacrifice himself.
Never A Drop of Red makes the wearer always look like he's in mint condition, and it offers another way to no-sell damage, this time limited to physical attacks and requiring Effort, but without a need for cannon fodder.
Mortal wearers will be hit with a case of the Emperor's New Clothes: They will become more and more certain of their own invincibility while everyone around them (at least mortals below 7 Hit Dice) will believe them.
The Red Sword of the Bleeding Emperor
A nasty blade made out of bone and gore, created by the cult of a Made God (unsurprisingly known as the Bleeding Emperor) whose members were really keen on cutting themselves to honor their ever-bleeding god. They were eventually assimilated by a group of hive-mind humans with beetle symbiotes. Pre-Shattering days were pretty weird.
The main feature of this sword is the badass Gift Red Hand of the Emperor, which lets the wielder hit everyone in sight with a single attack. Even a miss will cause 1 point of damage, and Mobs will automatically take an absurd 1d10+15 straight damage.
Remember 3rd edition's Locate City Nuke? Stand in the middle of a big city festival, and you'll have the Neutron Bomb Slash, with ludicrous amounts of gore.
To reflect the machostic nature of its makers, the sword also comes with the Font of Invigorating Gore, which lets you regain 1 Effort for the sword or yourself everytime you take 1/4 of your maximum Hit Points in damage.
Unsurprisingly, mortal wielders become obsessed with pain and suffering, eventually spending more time examining their own wounds than actually doing anything about them. They start each day with 1d6 Hit Dice in damage, so this can't reduce it below 1.
The Seal of Ten Thousand Suns
An elusive black ring of unkown origin that has popped up all throughout history, usually as a herald of bad things to happen. This is because the ring can open or close any Night Road's seal ( Bearer of the Black Key) and can even create new Night Roads ( Wound of the World). And as mentioned before, this usually ends in a bunch of cosmic horrors nomming everyone.
Mortal wielder's will be continuously haunted by visions and suggestions from the Uncreated, as if this wasn't already obvious that this artifact mainly exists for Uncreated to troll people. The ring even makes the wielder aware of these capabilities when worn as a helpful remainder.
Items of Lesser Magic
Any magical items that is not an artifact is considered a Minor Magical Item, aka just about every magical gadget from other d20 games. This section even comes with short conversion rules.
We also get a complete list of magical stuff that just doesn't work on Godbound: numerical bonuses, extra actions, and healing items.
Godbound can create Minor Magical Items with simple Dominion expenditure and a bit of time to tinker around. The cost ranges from 1 for simple single-charge items to 8 for the most powerful of Minor Magical Items. Each additional point spend doubles the amount of items created. Since this would make outfitting entire armies with magical weapons and armor prohibitively expensive, Godbound usually opt to create that many items in bulk as a change, as their powers have an easier time operating on a large scale.
We also get a list of example items from Arcem:
- Blood Compass: Feed this thing with 1 point of damage, and it'll point in the direction of osmeone you either love or hate.
- Hardened Tech: An expensive procedure known to the Bright Republic that makes their magitek capable of working outside of their node's range.
- Magnetic Guns: The firearm of choice of the Bright Republic, these are basically magitek coilgun with a big enough magazine for just about any firefight. Ammo can also be easily crafted outside of the Bright Republic as its just solid rounds of iron or similar metals.
- Poppet: Humanoid doll constructs ranging in size from a teddy bear to a full-grown adult. Their role and behavior is hard-coded (meaning they can't learn new tricks and lack sentience), and around 1% of them are actually assassin models acting as sleeper agents. These ones will go out of their way to murder their owner and make sure to find a new one, for that authentic horror movie experience.
- Regalia Armor: Already mentioned above. This is a simple enchantment just means that the armor's looks doesn't have to have anything to do with the armor's actual type and mechanical effects. You could have Light Armor that looks like a massive suit of plate armor with ridiculously large pauldrons, or Heavy Armor that's just body paint.
- Womb-Drying Salts: If you feel like being a dick to a female rival, this taste and oderless salt will cause violent cramps that not only have a 5% chance of killing the victim, but will guarantee that she's now permanently sterile. Access to this stuff is heavily restricted and usually only allowed for use by prostitutes, but there are plenty of assholish heirs and other backstabbers who make use of it. There's also male version known as Spring-Stilling Powder.
The engines that make the world literally go round, and take care of other laws of nature.
In this section, we find out how to smash (requires a suitable Miracle and caused 5d10 damage to the attacker) and repair (requires Celestial Shards and the right Word) them.
Salvaging a destroyed engine usually grants 1d6 Celestial Shards. These are not only used for artifacts and enacting big changes, but can also be turned into Dominion if need be.
As the PCs are unlikely to go around smashing Engines to get Shards, they can also be found in dungeons and from shady dealers. Deceiving Godbound is right out of th equestion though, for they can recognize Shards on sight and can feel their presence if close by.
These primarily exist to make a Godbound's life harder, for they interfere with their ability to casually mess with their surroundings. A sufficiently warded town might require a good old-fashioned siege, or a bit of infiltration to find and destroy the ward's focus.
Aside from the previously mentioned Mundus Wards that make it more expensive to create changes, there are also Empyrean Wards for when you're really paranoid of Godbound and their ilk. Affecting a smaller area than Mundus Wards (no more than a village), they work like that passive abilities of Uncreated, forcing the Godbound to expend up to 10 (through rarely more than 4) Effort before he can actually commit Effort for their Gifts. If you don't have enough to overcome the Ward, you better get out ASAP.
(And no, wards aren't supposed to be used for ye olde "Punish players for taking overpowered options" mantra. They exist to explain why important locales have been relatively unaffected by divine shenanigans, and to offer a bit more challenge to the PCs when the situation calls for it.)
Next Time: Secrets of Arcem - let's take a look beyond the paywall. Aka let's look at Giant Robots and DBZ Kung-Fu.
Secrets of ArcemOriginal SA post Godbound
Now we enter the chapter of Godbound that is exclusive to the paid version of the book.
Secrets of Arcem
The burnt foreground is probably how any place looks after a bit of demi-divine skirmishing.
This chapter is almost 50 pages long and full of additional goodies, from entire sub-systems to mere guidelines. So, let's ge started.
Creating Mortal Heroes
Maybe you like the rules of Godbound, but want something closer to regular D&D. Maybe you're a hardcore grognard who wants to earn his fun. Maybe you want to play Godbound in hard mode. Or mabe you just want to customize your Godbound's most loyal followers and champions. For all these needs and more, here are some rules for making mortal heroes.
Mortal heroes come in two tiers: Common Mortals are your typical oldschool dirt farmers, rolling 3d6 for attributes (in whatever order you wish) and with base Hit Points of one. I hope your CON modifier is positive.
Heroic Mortals use "roll 4d6, drop lowest" and have base Hit Points of 4.
Both types of mortal heroes have Effort, but only Heroic Mortals can use it to auto-succeed at saving throws. Heroic Mortals also have more and better customization options.
Said cusotmization comes in the form of Talents, which work a bit like Feats and especially the Gifts from Exemplars & Eidolons.
Talents are separated into Common Talents and Heroic Talents. Common Mortals can only pick from the Common Talents, while Heroic Mortals can pick from both, though a couple Heroic Talents are just better versions of Common Talents. So while a Common Mortal needs the Talents Flurry of Blows and Storm of Blows to gain 2 and then 3 attacks per round, a Heroic Mortal can just pick Heroic Flurry of Blows, which not only unlocks the third attack automatically as you level up but also lets you commit Effort to gain another extra attack. Heroic Mortals are also the only ones that can have a Fray Die through the Lethal Presence Talent.
Both lists also include Legacy Talents. These reflect weird quirks and mutations gained from your bloodline or magical experiments. Common Legacy Talents include natural weapons and armor or environmental adaption. The only Heroic Legacy Talent let you pick a single Lesser Gift to use.
A little oddity with the rules is that mortal heroes don't have a base attack progression by default. They need to buy the Hardened Combatant Talent for that (one purchase for half your level as a bonus, two purchases for the full level). This is also one of the only real Talent chain in this system, with the longest one being the 4-part Talent chain that leads you from Low Magic to the full Theurge package.
A pretty fun option is Old-School Ability, which lets you - with the GM's permission - grab any class ability from any other OSR game. The Lesser version for Common Mortals requires you to have the appropriate level, while Heroic Mortals have a - of course - Heroic version that lets them pick capstone abilities right from the get-go.
If you just want to pick an actual OSR class and play it in Godbound there are rules for that, too. Heroic Mortals even get Talents on top of that, albeit a bit slower than usual.
For a more traditional spellcasting system, you can get yourself the Vancian Caster Talent to gain access to an OSR spell list of your choosing. A bit Talent-intensive, since you have to buy the Talent again to unlock each new spell level. Heroic Mortals are again better here, as they can cast 9th-level spells at Level 10 while their Common cousins struggle to even gain 3th-level spells at that point.
"Multiclassing" by gaining access to another spell list works interesting here, as the character has one universal Caster Level for all of his spellcasting traditions, and all the spell lists he has access to are effectively merged into one when it comes to preparing them. You can freely mix classic spell list with spontaneous ones, but having even one of the latter slows down your spell progression a little.
Cybernetics and Clockworks
As the title suggest, cyberware on Arcem either come as traditional - but still magical - cybernetic implants from the Bright Republic, or as rad clockwork implants from Vissio.
Cyberware not only takes up slots on or inside the body, but they also require integration points from the subject. Mortal heroes gain these points through the Cybernetic Adaptation Talent, reducing Attribute scores or permanently reducing their maximum Effort. Godbound can only use the latter, which makes sense considering they are giving up their divine fleshy bits for man-made stuff.
Aside from your typical prosthetics and built-in armor and weaponry (the most interesting probably being the Gorgon Stare that lets you stare people into a dry, petrified husk, and the Slow Shield Generator which is more or less directly from Dune), there's the Autocossack Conversion that turns you into a centaur cyborg, the Thousand-Fingered Hand that turns your hand into a swiss army knife that would feel right at home in Ghost in the Shell, and the Eidolon Control Node that has an artifical spirit take over your body if you're knocked out to get away ASAP.
This is basically an endgame option for Godbounds: Once the PC Pantheon has grown in power and made sure they're the strongest dudes in all the realm, they might as well try to turn it into their actual realm by becoming arch-gods.
Becoming the gods of a realm requires the Godbound(s) to find the Celestial Engine that serves as the realm's literal heart. Once there, you just gotta pump it full with a crapton of Dominion till the realm is yours. Problem is that every supernatural critter in the realm will know what you're doing and can resist to multiply the cost, typically forcing your allies to get rid of them.
Multiple Godbound naturally have an easier time achieving arch-divinity, but the problem that can pop up is that arch-divinity can't be taken away from someone, so you better make sure that you can trust your comrades to not betray you or anything.
So, what does arch-divinity grant you? Well, more Effort, the ability to see any place and teleport to any place in your realm, saving throws of "only fails on a natural 1", the ability to produce Celestial Shards over time, and you can spend Dominion in your realm with no possible resistance from anyone. And if you become arch-god of yet another realm, you can fuse the two together.
Naturally, Arch-Gods also make for great villains, either in the form of aspiring Arch-Gods the PCs have to stop, or in the form of a proper Arch-God they have to lure outside of his dominion to weaken him.
Your average Godwalker factory in the Bright Republic. The comic book shows at least one picture from way earlier in the book.
Magitek mecha. They were an offshoot of the Made Gods, probably born from the idea "If we can't turn someone into a god, can we at least give him something that can punch a god?"
Godwalkers are a rare side outside of the Thousand Gods (where the knowledge and technology survived the Shattering, even if their Godwalker are now made from wood instead of shiny metal), with most being enshrined and useless thanks to a lack of maintenance. Still, some might just be hanging out inside an ancient facility, waiting for a pilot who is hopefully not some spineless teenager.
Godwalkers mainly serve as a way for a mortal PC or NPC to fight hordes of mortal enemies or even the odds against a Godbound. The latter can pilot one, but they will be unable to use their Gifts, with the exception of Constant Gifts who also affect the Godwalker.
Godwalker mainly use their own stats with the pilot's base attack bonus. They have their own pool of Effort that is only regained through a maintenance cycle (which is why many surviving Godwalkers no longer work).
Godwalker Hit Dice range from 14 for a Heavy-Gear-sized Godwalker and 40 for a giat fuck-off airship. The pilot is not entirely save inside his cockpit, as he will take damage relative to the Godwalker.
Creating a Godwalker is a lot like creating vehicles in Crawford's earlier books: Pick a basic hull and slap some stuff on it.
Hulls are known as Sacred Armatures, and aside from Giant Robots of varying sizes, the selection also includes the above airship, a fighter jet, submarines and hovertanks. One of the best allrounders is probably the Seraph, since its not only one of the bigger Giant Robots, but also one with wings.
Godwalkers are a bit more complex than other Crawford vehicles in that they come with an extra step: Picking a Chakra Engine. They have different sizes (aka large engines only fit on large Armatures), a different number of hardpoints, max. Effort and Actions per round.
With the exception of a few heavy-duty versions, all Engines cause the Godwalker to lose 1 Effort per day of operation.
The hardpoints gained from the engine come in five different versions, named after the Japanese elements: Fire for weapons, Metal for defense, Water for utility, Wind for movement and Void, which not only houses sensory components, but can also accept any other type of component.
Speaking of these Divine Components, many of them let you pick a Lesser Gift that makes sense for the Hardpoint (so the Divine Smiting Actuator lets you pick an attack Gift). Weapons are generally divided into AoE attacks and single target weapons that deal straight damage, with such fun names as Trump of Judgment (a sonic weapon) and Wingcutter Malediction (magical flak beams).
Probably the funniest Component is Advance of the Iron Tide, which makes you intangile if you commit Effort and you just keep moving in a straight line. You're like the Ghost Juggernaut.
Example Godwalkers include the Unblinking Jade Eye (a small and sneaky robot from the Thousand Gods), the Without Repining (a Giant Robot from Ren), the awesomely-named Gentleman who holds the Whip (also from Ren, but a command hovertank), and The Gatekeeper (a Guardian of a Made God's treasury).
The Martial Strifes
These ones are fun. They're martial arts, but not any puny mortal martial arts. No sir, these one channel universal concepts of conflict for devastating effect.
Strifes are a lot like Gift packages that are focused pretty much entirely around combat. Each Strife contains six Techniques: One entrance Technique that you have to learn first, one capstone Technique that comes after all the others, and four Techniques inbetween that you can learn in any order you want.
These Techniques also require the same points a Godbound otherwise uses to get Gifts and Words.
Learning a Strife requires some kind of teacher, though a Godbound with the right Word migth have an intuitive grasp on a fitting Strife.
Common Mortals (and really most mortals) are only able to learn Lesser Strifes, watered-down versions of the real deal that are basical regular martial arts with the occasional magical effect. These are learned in three steps (Initiate, Disciple and Master), not unlike Low Magic.
Heroic Mortals can learn the proper Strifes with Talents, though they have to master the Lesser version first.
While the classic D&D Monk is pretty gimped when it comes to his weapon and armor selection, the Strifes are generally a lot more lenient, with most not even caring what you've equipped.
Learning multiple Strifes is tricky as you're generally limited to only one per combat scene. The capability to combine Strifes tkes another Gift point, and this only works with Strifes you've fully mastered.
Some Strife offer the ability to make an extra attack, but those are usually limited to a simple unarmed or weapon attack.
All Strifes also come with an example NPC who uses that respective Strife, usually a Godbound or a very badass mortal.
The Strife of the Bitter Rival
A straightforward duelist Strife, based on the conflict between rivals. You mark someone within sight as your rival and get to enjoy various offensive and defensive bonuses against him for the rest of the scene, at the cost of having a harder time hitting anyone but your rival. Interesting examples include While They Live (gain a once-per-scene respawn if you're knocked out while your rival is still alive and well) and When They Hide (you always know where your rival is and what he's doing).
The example character is Signore Dottore Gavazzi (HD 20), a fencer and former assassin from Vissio who is now wandering the world as a gentleman duelist. He's also a clockwork cyborg and badass enough to emulate Gifts of Alacrity and Deception.
The Strife of the Broken Earth
Tapping into the power of earthquakes, this Strife lets you overcome inanimate objects with ease. You can damage enemies with a seismic shockwave, become immune against getting crushed by debris, ignore whatever metal armor your opponent is wearing and smash buildings in a matter of rounds. Other fun Techniques include Under This Red Rock (attack someone you've already hit before as if he's still next to you, provided he's standing on ground) and the hilariously-named Rocks Fall (your unarmed attacks become magical 1d10 weapons, and you can punch your way through earth and stone).
The example character is The Shaken Lady (HD 25), the result of the Oasis States' lovely eugenics shenanigans which turned her into a frail, sickly girl. Though it turns out the breeding project was a success after all, and she uses the Strife and her Godbound-like powers over Might and Earth to take revenge at her messed-up society.
The Strife of the Consuming Flame
This Strife channels the burning power of fire, which unsurprisingly means that you can set yourself on fire to discourage attackers and set other people on fire. Some of these are also self-damaging, like Burn Clean (hurt yourself to burn negative effects out of your body) or A Consuming Fury (blow yourself up).
The example character is Lawful Pyre-Born from Lom. He entered the Pyre to become an antipriest, and instead of coming out either unscathed or as a simpleton, he came back with the power of this Strife. So not only does this guy know how to set you on fire, but he makes it harder to use Gifts in his vicinity like an Uncreated.
(And yes, Lawful is is actual name. Lom has weird naming conventions.)
The Strife of the Drowning Tide
Just as the waves wash away rock and earth, so can practicioners of this Strife handle multiple opponents. The Lesser version of this is in fact the only way for a Common Mortal to gain a Fray Die.
This Strife also turns you into some kind of Xenomorph / The Thing, as the entrance Technique Water Red and White not only lets you breathe and survive underwater, but also has your own blood lash out of your wounds to strike at whoever hit you. It doesn't say anything about melee range, so your reactive blood tentacles can apparently slap archers across the battlefield. And if you want to troll enemies with multiple attacks, you can use The Tide Goes Out to know yourself out of harm's way, wasting their remaining attacks.
The example character is Salt Lady Lastri (HD 30), a pirate captain who is just about as badass as she is bloodthristy. Even her own crew (all-female, as is custom in Kasirutan) fears her.
The Strife of the Dying Hour
This is temporarl kung-fu, making use of the inevitability of time. My favorite is definitely Thief of Hours. This is not your normal "Your unarmed attacks are now 1d10 magical weapons" power, since the increased damage is caused by you punching future or past wounds onto the target. Less direct, but no less awesome is Day-Devouring Blow, which has you punch up to 10 years off or onto people with each hit.
The example character is Scholar Li Po (HD 20), and very intelligent fellow from Dulimbai who sees himself as a shining paragon of his people. The problem is that he's an absolute hypocrite, with the description itself calling him an "tremendous asshole" and "selfish bastard". He also likes to get his hands on ancient treasure (be it from dungeons, or other people), making him so kind of stinking rich murder hobo.
The Strife of the Falling Sky
Lightning and gravity power this Strife. This is the Strife used by the fellow in the above picture, more specifically the entrance Technique Javelin of God. This one not only makes you immune against falling damage, but lets you break through any non-magical barrier in your way and create a shockwave upon impact if you fall long enough. Other tricks include jumping very far, punch lightning at people or use the capstone Tear Down the Sky to rip out a piece of the sky and throw it at someone.
The example charater is Inga Hammerfall (HD 25) from Ulstang, a near giantess and one of the most important and loyal henchmen of the Witch-Queen Sif. Think Brienne of Tarth with DBZ powers.
The Strife of the Hunting Beast
Drawing from the conflict between predator and prey, this Strife lets you be a sneaky bastard. You can make yourself imperceptible to one or even several targets, and your unarmed attacks are not only boosted, but also silence the target for a round.
If your enemies are into guard dogs or their monstrous equivalents, you can use Cull the Huntsman's Pack to gain attack and damage bonuses against them. And if you've finally grown tired of being sneaky, you can use Red Jaws of Frenzy to go berserk with access to extra attacks.
The Strife of the Scorned Lover
This one is just nuts. Powered by scorned love (hence the title), this one starts of with A Kiss like Poison, which turns your unarmed attacks into magical ranged attacks that are so subtle that even the target himself requires a Save to notice that he's been attacked. You can literally hurt people with smiles and kisses. During a banquet. And almost nobody will notice. Equally weird is A Name like Razors, which boosts your unarmed damage if you know the target's name - with an even bigger bonus (1d20!) if you have been BFFs or lovers.
The other Techniques are a lot more straightforward, including automatic counterattacks, a way to draw aggro from a single target and a Technique that lets you bounce damage back onto the attacker twofold.
The example character is Lady Mihret Kassa (HD 22), a former Ancalian knight and spy. For whatever reason, she turned on her Order before the whole Night Road eruption wrecked her country, and has been working as an assassin ever since.
Paradises are special realms that house the souls of a Godbound's whorshipper after dead, which is usually a better alternative than being a sleeping ghost in the world of the living or landing in Hell.
Paradises are created in one of two ways: either the Godbound turns a realm he has become arch-god of into a Paradise, or he manages to find a genesis seed, a precious artifact from Heaven that can actually create new realms from scratch.
Aside from the usual benefits of being an arch-god, a Godbound inside his own realm is immune against any traitorous followers, can reshape his Paradise with a minimum of Dominion, and part of his divine essence remains inside of his Paradise to keep protecting his followers - which may or may not eventually allow him to come back from the dead.
For the most part, this section is very light on rules. Creating a Paradise is more some kind of collaborative storytelling, with the PCs laying down the looks and rules of their Paradise. Is it a lush forest in which souls take on the form of animals and can't die? Or is it a giant hall with plenty of booze and blackjack for everyone?
This is basically a toolkit to create new Godbound "classes" by tweaking the default one. This is primarily done with Traits. Some of these are beneficial (like bonus Gifts and easier access to Strifes), some are flaws (a reduced selection of Gifts or even Words, no Miracles, a taboo or weakness), some can change the entire Word/Gift structure or have access to new Words (more on those later).
It is not recommended have different Themed Godbound in the same party, but the GM can probably figure something out that works.
Now onto the example Themed Godbound:
The Arrayed are another offshoot of Made Gods, magitek cyborgs that can gain Gifts and Words from plucking echo links into their body. It's a lot like the Materia system from Final Fantasy 7.
As cool as it sounds to switch out your entire power set, this does come with the big caveat of relying on some organization that provides you with echo links and maintenance. You can create the facilities yourself with enough Dominion and a couple Celestial Shards, but your sponsors will become more than suspicious if you do that.
Elemental Scions are an example of a weaker type of Godbound. One of their Words has to be an elemental one, and they can't buy Greater Gifts or use Miracle unless they've gained a few levels. They also have the Incandescent Power Trait (aka they start an elemental laser light show if they use too much Effort during a Scene) and are completely incapable of making use of Followers, Dominion or even Influence. On the upside, they don't need Dominion for level-ups, so they're pretty much super-powered murder hobos.
Exemplars crank up human skills to 11. As such, they can't pick some of the more nature-themed Words.
Aside from Incandescent Power, they also have the Consuming Temptation Trait, a flaw ot obsession that occasionally takes over in times of crisis.
Exemplars come in various sub-types depending on which part of humanity they excel at. Each must have at least one starting Word from a specific list, and they each have their own bonus Gift.
Example sub-types include the Conqueror (must have Sword, Bow or Command as a Word; auto-hits all lesser foes) or the Rebel (must have the Deception, Knowledge or Passion Word; immune against mind effects).
Proteans wield primordial powers, capable of freely changing their form. They have excellent physical abilities (STR, DEX and CON can never be below 13), but their selection of starting Words is very limited: They need to have at least one of Alacritiy, Endurance or Might, and another Word choice has to go to Shapeshifting, a new Word that is either exclusive to Proteans (if they exist in the campaign) or can be made available to normal Godbound (if they don't).
Their main flaw is a weakness against a specific metal. Damage from that metal is rolled twice (take the better result) and can't be no-selled in any way.
The Shapeshifting Word is - surprise, surprise - all about shapeshifting. Become a doppelganger. Turn into a dragon and use all of its special abilities. Regenerate your wounds. Hulk out with claws and everything.
Pretty funny for rogueish Proteans is the Greater Gift Deceitful Faces, which turns you into a perfect doppelganger. You are so in-character that you always talk and act like the original, even if you have no possible way of knowing any of it.
We also get an example Protean: Leila the Bladewife (HD 11). She awakened during the whole fall of Ancalia, saving both herself and her lover Hazim from the Uncreated horrors. She now stays shapeshifted as Hazim's sword, aiding him in battle (which is necessary as he's just a mortal dude) and patching him up he gets himself killed again. Now that's a character concept if I've ever seen one.
Undestined are essentially a glitch in the matrix. They can power from their understanding of the flaws and cracks of reality, granting them access to the Fate Word. They can't into elemental Words, but at least their conflicting nature gives them easy access to Strifes.
They come with the amazing flaw of being unremarkable and easily forgotten. They could slay a dragon that has tormented the area for ages, and everyone would just attribute the deed to someone else in a year or so. They cannot use Influence or Dominion for changes without through someone else, essentially being a divine ghostwriter.
The Fate Word naturally messes with peoples' destiny. You can make yourself ignored by anyone, free people of mind effects or turn someone into an unperson by erasing their original life from everyone's memory.
Since Undestined can't change things directly, they have a fun trick where they use their Gifts to create an alternate identity for themselves: Consume the Name allows them to erase a lesser foe or corpse from existance to essentially become the person, with its identity, knowledge and destiny. Stopping this power causes the person or corpse to appear again.
So a Protean could for example take the place of some beggar and become a mighty hero of the land. The funny part comes if people find out about this charade, as they will assume the mighty hero actually existed and the Protean is just some impostor.
The example Undestined is Brother Gyaltsen (HD 9), a monk who has grown very, very frustrated at never rising in rank no matter how hard he tries. When he dispatched of a rival, he realized that he was an Undestined, so he promptly stole the rivals identity and left the monastery for good (nobody even noticed that Gyaltsen has vanished).
This is an alternative concept for Words for Exemplars and similar Godbound. You essentially replace the normal Words with skill-like descriptors like "Brawling" or "Stealth". These act like Words and let you buy Gifts from any normal Word that falls within that skill.
Converting Powers from other games
Aka how to use Exalted Charms in Godbound, or as the book likes to call it "powers measured on a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 scale" *nudge nudge*.
These guidelines fit on a single page and essentially boil down to "Charms that give you situational bonuses should just let you auto-succeed at stuff", "Charms that don't do enough on their own should be ignored or merged with others", "Charm Trees are basically Skill Words" and "For the love of God, ignore Charm prerequisite chains".
And of course, always compare Charms with the Gifts in this book to figure out whether it is a Lesser or Greater gift.
(I've also noticed that you could basically convert the Overed from Double Cross as some kind of Elemental-Scion-type of Godbound. Preferrably in the Bright Republic)
And that's it, folks. I hope you had as much fun as I did. Keving Crawford seems to be the OSR gift that just keeps on giving.
As for me, I'm talking a short break before delving into some other review.