Fortitude, Stress & Thrill

As part of the development of Verge, we’ve developed similar yet distinct systems for managing the morality of both Superheroes and Supervillians. This system is divided into three sub-sections, Fortitude, Stress and Thrill.

Fortitude

Fortitude is an Iteration’s inner strength and emotional resolve. In this sense, Fortitude is a measure of the Iteration’s ability to endure Stress and carry on no matter how bad things get. When an Iteration’s Stress exceeds their Fortitude, the character suffers a two card penalty on all Draws, seeing the character physically exhausted and emotionally drained.

Stress

Most heroes possess a strong moral code, a sort of ad hoc and unspoken chivalry of the streets that sees the hero fight to protect the weak and innocent whilst reframing from engaging in the terror and murder that defines their enemy. When this code is challenged or outright violated – killing a foe, witnessing or realizing the death of an innocent by a foe, failing or refusing to aid an innocent in need – a character gains a point of Stress.

When an Iteration’s Stress exceeds their Fortitude, the character suffers a two card penalty on all Draws, seeing the character physically exhausted and emotionally drained.

Stress is for heroic characters only. For the villains, we have Thrill:

Thrill

Villains always get a kick out of chaos and danger, a thrill-seeker urge and unfulfillable, ultimately selfish desire for conquest that blinds them to the plight of the weak and innocent whilst engaging in an aberrant morality of terror and crime. When this urge is fulfilled – killing a foe, committing or realizing the death of an innocent by their own hand, successfully committing a misdeed, undertaking a personal act of revenge – a Villainous character gains a point of Thrill. Thrill is rated from zero and upwards, seeing the character physically exhilarated and emotionally charged. Thrill is reduced by one per hour of rest or downtime. When a Villain’s Thrill is below their Fortitude, the Iteration suffers a two card penalty on all Draws.

On a sidenote, the Thrill is not just for non-player characters and the Game Master. Rather, Verge contains a special appendix for playing Supervillians.

Fortitude, Stress & Thrill

Vampire Classes

Blood Stains does not use conventional Labyrinth Lord Classes. Instead, Blood Stains uses its own set of Classes and Saves to represent Vampirism. Though a Game Master – termed Overlord in Blood Stains – may certainly integrate conventional classes into their Blood Stains games, the game itself employs its own set of character archetypes: Dhampir, Feral, True Blood and Mongrel. Each of these classes reflects one of the generalist types of Vampire contained within the setting. For example:

  • Dhampir: Closer to human, the resulting child from a Vampiric infection while pregnant. Most Dhampir’s appear, outwardly, to be little more than an anaemic human.
  • Feral: Corrupted or mutated strain of the Vampiric virus, resulting in degeneration into a monstrous beast.
  • True Blood: Direct, blood-to-blood, infection with a pure strain of the Vampire virus. Each True Bloods is a fanged Adonis
  • Mongrel: The result of infection with the Vampire virus incidentally, such as through saliva or other bodily fluids or blood contact with an open wound. Mongrels appear mostly human, but with shark-like maws, talons and other features.
Vampire Classes

Corrupting the Multiverse

For some time now, I’ve been working on a Superhero role-playing game called Verge the Multiverse. Verge takes inspiration from stories like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars and throws in a huge, healthy dose of Lovecraft-inspired horror. The premise of Verge is that the Multiverse is being devoured by the Irresolute Idols. To combat this threat, heroes of the same Archetype (that is, character) come together from across the Multiverse. While this game utilises the same system as Frankenstein Atomic Frontier and Artificial Exotics, it makes some interesting additions:

 

Corruption

Often, Iterations that encounter the Irresolute Idols suffer some degree of corruption, a side effect of dealing with monsters from outside reality itself forced to be three-dimensional flesh and blood entities. At the end of any game session in which am Iteration has encountered one of the Irresolute Idols, their cults and servants, a relic associated with the Idols or other thing associated with Idols the Overseer should Draw a number of cards based on the table below. When determining cards in a Corruption Draw, the Overseer should use the highest quantity possible. For instance, if the Team encounter a cursed book (relic) and a Tri-Fold Hunter (monster), then the Overseer should Draw six cards. If this Draw is a success, the Iterations gain a single point of Corruption. The Overseer should Draw single card, the corresponding Suit of which is corrupted (i.e. if the Overseer Draws a Heart, the corrupted Suit is a Heart).

Encounter                                                                                           Cards
Relic, item, or totem of the Idols.                                              2
Cult or other servants of the Idols.                                           4
Creature, monster or other being born of the Idols.           6
Corrupted Iteration                                                                        6
An Irresolute Idol.                                                                           8

Inflict two points of Corruption if one or more Aces are Drawn, three for one or both Jokers.

Corruption manifests itself as a constant murmur and temptation: an offer constantly whispered in the Iteration’s ear, an outstretched hand in the corner of their eye. As a result, each point of Corruption grants a one card bonus on any Draws with the corresponding Suit. That is to say, three points of Corruption in the Spades Suit see an Iteration gaining three additional cards on all Spades Draws. The bonus is optional and does not need to be taken unless the Iteration wishes to do so. If taken, the Corruption bonus must be used in total. Should the Iteration choose to employ their Corruption bonus and manage to Draw an Ace during the course of the Draw, they gain an additional point of Corruption in the corresponding Suit. Should the Iteration have Drawn a Joker, they gain two additional points of Corruption.

An Iteration may have six points of Corruption in any one Suit and still be functional. An Iteration whose Corruption in any Suit exceeds six (seven or higher) has lost their mind, body and soul to the Irresolute Idols and is forever more their slave. At this point, the Iteration gains the Idol Corrupted Iteration Template and is removed by the Overseer as a non-player Extra and Villain.

Iterations may also attempt to rationalize or work through their experience of their encounters with the Idols. To do so, the Iteration should make a Clubs Draw at the end of the game session. If successful, the Iteration loses a point of corruption. If the Iteration has multiple corrupted Suits, remove Corruption from those least affected first so long as the Corruption bonus of the Suit has not been employed that game session. If the Iteration has employed the Corrupted Suit, it no Corruption can be removed. Additionally, creature, Cultist, Slave or other creature dedicated to the Idols is immune to the negative consequences of Corruption – having been Corrupted already.

Corrupting the Multiverse

Codex II

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at Codex II:

Due to the loss of calendars, it is unknown at which point the Dark ends and Codex Two precisely begins. What is certain, however, is that in time, the Scourge devours the Technoprey and the Europan. Having devastated most of the churning and overturning mass of Human Kingdoms, the Scourge lack a sufficient food source and eventually face extinction, dying out across the universe. In this time and space, Humans are a rarity. Known as the Star Children, by this age of the universe they are now the ancients whose last few remaining refuges and vast ruins hold ancient technologies and magic’s. Other Species now clamour and compete for the wonders of these bygone ages, reverse engineering Framing Drives, cybernetics, genetic manipulation or else rediscovering the hideous sorceries of the Dark. In regards to technology further, Codex Two features a curious hodgepodge of old and new developments that sees archaic locally developed technologies combined with advanced rediscoveries. Fleets of open decked sailing ships, moored at space-docks and equipped with Framing Drives and atmospheric bubbles are not uncommon sites, nor are Space Dragons and other fantastic combinations.

Codex II

The Dark

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Dark:

The Belle Epoch abruptly ends around the year 40,000 as the Technoprey wake and begin their swarm. A species of homogenous energy encased in an exoskeletal shell, the Technoprey dwell for much of their lifespan hibernating in gas giants – undetected in the Primer Era except for a few exceptional encounters. Largely forgotten during the Belle Epoch, the Technoprey wake and begin to swarm towards any energy source they can find and devour it. Indeed the Technoprey are the reason for absence of the advanced galactic civilization in the Primer Era, having risen and swarmed the last time during the 21st century. The Technoprey swarms produce a vast series of panicked responses. The Europan – still in control of what was once the Main Line – recognizes the threat and attempts to bio-mesh its own bio-technology with the Technoprey. The idea was to create hunters that will attack and destroy the Technoprey. The result was the Scourge, a fast mutating variant of the Technoprey that come to also wreak havoc across the galaxy.  The every changing patchwork of Human Kingdoms and empires likewise attempts to combat first the Technoprey and then the Scourge by turning to advances in wormholes and dimensional travel. Unfortunately, this succeeds in only unleashing creatures from the Nightmare dimension into our reality. Worse it ruptures the dimensional space of the Reflective. The Reflectives exist in a parallel quantum state to our own dimension, manifesting occasionally as semi-visible, entirely ethereal beings – often mistaken for ghosts. Known since the Primer Era, with the rupturing of their dimensional space, the Reflectives begin investigating Humans to unknown means and ends. A time of trial for the Human Species, by the end of the Dark the conventional, Gregorian, calendar that had stood since 1582 is no more and Humans have been culled to one Species amongst many in the universe.

The Dark

The Belle Epoch

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Belle Epoch

The Primer Era of 2503 ends with a bang as human supremacy over the Main Line systems is challenged by the Europan, the sentient planet-wide lifeform that dwells on Europa. No longer content to watch the Corporate entities overtake all other life in the universe, the Europan spawns organic weapons – living creatures and starships designed to annihilate the Corporations and cull the human population of the Main Line. The Europan’s war is joined by the Ile Solitaire, who seizes the moment to ensure their future in the new order – aiding the Europan. By the conclusion of the conflict, the Europan has seized the Sol System and exterminated much of the human life that dwelt there – particularly on and around Europa itself. The Ile Solitare fill the a vast number of Main Line human systems with ripplers, devices that disrupt Framing Drive technology and stop faster-than-light travel into and out of the systems.  Effectively both conditions and the fall of the Corporations mean Humans are cut off from the Main Line and while some do remain there, they dwell in a fragmented society. But far beyond the Main Line, on what was considered the colonies and fringes of the Main Line, the absence of the Corporations allows new human societies to grow.  So it is within the Belle Epoch distant stars foster multi-planet kingdoms and empires that spring up from vigorous planetary formerly-corporate governments or as the result of an visionary warlord, almost overnight. This kingdoms amongst the stars burn with grandeur and passion, and often vanish almost as quickly as they appear – being overtaken by another throne, equally as brief and prolific.

The Belle Epoch

The Extermination War

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Extermination War:

Retrospectively, from the perspective of 2503, the Extermination War is part of the First Resource War. Ranging from 2037 to 2215, for those living in the time and after the First Resource War was a string of conflicts stretching out over the course of a century. One of the most aggressive conflicts within this period is the Extermination War, a short but massive war with extensive use of chemical weapons and ending in a limited nuclear exchange. While the Extermination War was brief, its aftermath left much of North America and Eurasia depopulated and some areas of the earth completely uninhabitable.

The Extermination War was preceded by a decade of conflicts known as the African World War. Ranging from 2037 to 2045, the African World War was prompted by gross poverty across the African continent in the mid-21st century. This deepening of existing conditions faced by Africa was prompted by a mixture of population growth, the emergence of the Morbus Novum virus, and greater demand for natural resources by the First World’s own growing populations. The African World War concluded with China in control of the African Continent. The aftermath of the African World War destabilized the existing world-power balance and prompted a new conflict four years later, the Extermination War, between the United States and European Union allied against China.

The Extermination War