Designing Eldritch Sigils

Last Sunday I published the beta version of rules for Eldritch Sigils. This is a game I have been working on for about five years. I have actually published earlier drafts over the years but this was the first time it actually has consistency and it is actually playable.

This has been a long process and one that is still in the works. But now that the rules are “out there” I thought it would be a good chance to talk about them. Since game design is quite an interesting topic I hope that sharing my process might produce new ideas or at least be curious.

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Creating an Archipelago Game

About a month ago I managed to get into Jason Morningstar‘s Archipelago game “Love in the Time of Khavarner“. I really liked the setting and the style the game worked and began immediately to think how I could hack it. Jason himself said that it is not as simple as it seems. And after working on a game I have to admit he was right.

Without going into details about what is needed for an Archipelago game I must admit that I used the two existing games Love in the Time of Seið and Love in the Time of Khavarner as the starting point. I did not have high ambitions about a truly original masterpiece but an idea about a game I really wanted to take part in. Continue reading

The Bell End 4 – When Sequelitis Strikes

This was actually played months ago, but it went so horribly wrong, I didn’t really feel like writing about it. I guess partly to get me to write more RPG-stuff and for the sake of completeness, I’ll put this up.

So, for those who don’t know, this is a sort of tremulus campaign, but more like a recurring setting. Certain characters and places reappear, but many things are left to the players and the GM. You can find the earlier frameworks in the Resources page (as well as this one, but here’s a direct link), but you can also read up reports on these by following the bell-end tag.

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Getting Ready for Ropecon 2014

Tomorrow I will get into a car full of nerds and drive from Tampere to Helsinki for Ropecon 2014 (click here for English). Luckily this time we will have air conditioning. Though in my mind Ropecon is the biggest roleplaying convention in Finland there actually is a lot of other stuff going on there too. Panels, dancing, workshops and various other kinds of games fill up the weekend quite nicely.

This is the third time we are participating and the seconded time we are going in as media. Or actually this year we get the marvellous chance to pay for telling people how awesome Ropecon is. No media passes for the Redemund’s Guild this year does not mean that we are pissed (well, actually it does) and it will not influence our reporting (at least hopefully it will not).

Aki will be running some games (Hillfolk and tremulus) and I will be running from a game to game with my camera. So you can expect photos as well as blogging – hopefully at least some from the premises.

I actually even started a new Instagram account for our Guild. You can follow it HERE to see what is going on. Galleries will follow as soon as I get them edited. So I you have met me during the event I have handed you a calling card directing you here – the pictures will come sooner or later.

As a disclaimer I will add that if you see a picture of yourself and you do not wish it to be visible please contact me and I’ll remove it immediately. I will ask permission for posting the pictures in person but sometimes there can be a mixup. If you want a picture in larger quality for yourself, feel free to ask me for it.

Hopefully everyone will have good time at Ropecon!

Note: If you are coming to Ropecon drop us a comment and we will glad to introduce you to the event and help you in (mostly) any way.

Visions of Grandeur

While struggling with the finishing touches for my Apocalypse World hack I have noticed my mind wondering towards new paths and hacks. I am now even more intrigued by the possibilities of hacking AW than when I started. There is still much to be learned (as I have not yet even played anything besides tremulus) but that really does not stop me from thinking about what could be done.

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Wayward Sons Playbook: Evangelist

This is for Lauri’s game and I haven’t asked him about this, but I’m just putting this out here for later comparison and as part of the transparency of the project.

I don’t know the exact form Lauri’s playbooks will take in the end, but this is my proposal or prototype for one. We did preliminary characters the other day and this is what I came up with: A small-time televangelist, who has been part of an exorcism where something unexpected by the quite secular character didn’t expect. So, now I just have to make this more generalized so that others might be able to play this some day.

The subheaders in bold, the text in italics and my comments in normal text. The template is from tremulus.

Who Are You?

Despite humble beginnings, you have been able to grow rich by abusing your congregation’s beliefs for years. Whether you actually believe or not, you are able to inspire belief in others. With shallow wisdom and simple brainwashing techniques you are able to hold those looking for meaning in their lives in your hands. But something happened and your world was broken. Suddenly you were in over your head, but you are going to survive, as you always have.


I can’t stop thinking about Oral Roberts, so that would lead me to have good, strong American last names and strange first names from Western side characters. Than again, people like Billy Graham, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have very basic, likable names, with shortened first names.

Jimmy Smith, Bob Gordon, Norm Baker, Clint Jones, Howie Lee, Benny Carson


Gender: Man or Woman

I thought about only having men, because this is a male-dominated profession, but there have been famous female televangelists, such as Tammy Faye Bakker, so no reason to limit this one.

Clother: expensive tailored suit, fine suit, worn suit, rural casual, or puritan robes

Expensive tailored suit is the one we’d most likely see in most fiction, because its just so stereotypical, but I don’t think all these people are making that much money. Some are simple bible salesmen, or they need to attract simpler rural people by appearing more like them or what they would expect.

Face: condensending, aristocratic, serious, or somber

I’m not sure about this. I guess this is fine for now.

Eyes: sharp, peaceful, or accusing

Body: Slim, athletic, full, lithe, or angular


Okay, so Lauri had a bit different view on how these will work. Instead of the usual way AW hacks work, we’ll have access to more powerful moves in the future, so I’m keeping these moves less powerful than the usual moves playbooks would have. These are largely based on moves from playbooks from tremulus, but with influence from both Apocalypse World and MonsterHearts, although the latter has so many moves related to strings, it doesn’t come up much here.

Lauri asked us for two, but I’ll make some more just for more options. Future players might not want to use the same path I do. I’ll rework these if they are too

Inspire a Crowd: You may use INFLUENCE on crowds of people with time and give them abtract promises in return. On a failure, the crowd may become hostile, or may draw their own conclusions on what to do.

Pretty basic evangelist stuff, riling up crowds with semi-intelligible speeches about the will of god and the bible.

Confessor: Gain +1ongoing after successfully reading or influencing a person to read or influence the same person.

Some stuff for a more classical version of a priest. People often want to trust their religious leaders. After they’ve accepted this character as their link to their god, they will continue to associate with him.

Cold Reading: You may ask an additional question when using INSTINCT on a person. +1forward if using INFLUENCE on the same person.

Having worked with a lot of people, the evangelist has learned to find the angles they can use.

Congregation: If you are surrounded by your flock, they will protect you.

Don’t know what this means at this point. Maybe they are an AW-like gang, maybe not. Maybe they are just some requirement to get hold of the character physically.

The Faithful: When usimg experience to reroll INFLUENCE rolls with people of roughly the same faith, gain +2forward.

Hard to balance this. Is +2forward too much? Probably not, since many moves simply give +1 to a trait and this is quite situational.

Faith Healing

I don’t know what this should do at this point. This isn’t real healing, but maybe you can remove someones minuses for a while or something by making them think they’ve been healed. I think this will get removed later, but just put it in here, since it has so much resonance in how these people are seen in the public. Maybe some other “magic trick” like snake handling could be a move too.


A worn or expensively decorated Bible, a cross

Don’t know much more about the gear at this point.

AW-Hack: Basic Moves

After surviving the birthday party that was held during last weekend I noticed the complete lack of second part of my input for Demon Week. I’ll probably get back to it in some point but for now I’d like to present the revised basic actions for by Apocalypse World hack.

These basic moves are mainly inspired by tremulus though browsing through some other hacks has also given me some ideas. As stated previously these might change a bit at some point. Any ideas and suggestions are more than welcome.

Act Under Pressure (Roll + Stat)
When you take an action that risks failure or opposition, roll with one of the basic stats.
On a 10+, You succeed.
On a 7-9, the GM offers you a worse outcome, hard bargain or a cost. If agreed upon, you succeed.

Assist/Interfere (Roll + their trust to you)
When you Assist or Interfere on someone’s action, roll their Trust to you.
On a 10+, They take +2 (Assist) or -2 (Interfere) to their roll.
On a 7-9, They take +1 or -1 to their roll, and you are exposed to the outcome of the roll.
On a miss, They lose of point of Trust to you

Fight (Roll + Violence)
When you attack someone or something, roll+Violence. The roll stands for the entire combat. Every participant in a combat inflicts its Harm to the other.
On a 10+, Choose 1
– You deal Harm as established
– You deal +2 Harm but suffer Harm
– They change behavior and do what you want.
– Choose one from below
On a 7-9, They choose 1:
– Flee
– Fall back to a secure location
– Back off calmly
– Give you what they think you want

Influence (Roll + Presence)
When you want someone to do something for you, you may use your wits, charm, looks etc. to ask someone to do it.
On a 10+, they’ll do it but might ask for something in return.
7-9, they’ll do it but will ask for something in return.

Instinct (Roll + Discipline)
When you need to know what others are thinking, meaning or thinking you need to trust on your Instinct. Asks are directed to the GM.
On a 10+, Ask something, GM gives a relevant and usable answer.
On a 7-9, Ask something, GM gives you something interesting, build on that.

Investigate (Roll + Intellect)
Looking for clues in a scene.
On a 10+, choose 1:
– You find something hidden
– You find something lost
– You find something forgotten
– You find a Good item (GM’s choice)
– You find a Minor item (your choice)
– You find a Clue (+1forward)
– Pick one from the following:
7-9, choose 1:
– You find a Minor item (GM’s choice)
– You find a Clue (+1forward), but the situation escalates
On a 6 or less, there either is nothing else to be found or the GM may hold 1 against you.

Reason (Roll + Intellect)
When the clues are gathered, the libraries visited and the old dusty tomes read the player may use Reason to tie in the knots.
On a 10+, Ask something, GM gives a relevant and usable answer.
On a 7-9, Ask something, GM gives you something interesting, build on that.

Spark of Taint (Roll + Discipline)
Whenever you commit an inhuman act (kill someone in cold blood, work magic, eat human flesh etc.) make roll+Discipline.
10+ You remain unaffected by the Taint
On a 7-9, You are fighting the Taint. You may choose to advance it.
On a miss, your Taint advance a step.

Starting a New Hack for AW

I am awful when it comes to RPG rules. I dislike reading them, cannot remember them and have (and quite likely will) changed them always to suit my preferences. I was almost certain that coming up with my own system would solve the case.

Of course it didn’t.

The past months have been a bit dry for me as a GM. I certainly have had ideas and the will but when it comes to choosing or creating the system I get overly complicated. I actually explained this in the first edit quite a lot. But it too got too complicated.

When Aki brought out the tremulus I was quite eager to try it out. Call of Cthulhu kind of games are close to my heart. My gaming group have been playing and enjoying the Apocalypse World and I had wanted to try it but I just do not get anything from post-apocalypse games.

As stated previously I enjoyed tremulus enough to give it a try as a GM. It was almost what I had been searching. But naturally (for me) not exactly it. After brooding over it for a few weeks I decided to try something new.

Joe McDaldno had an interesting thing called “Simple World” on his blog. It basically gives you a blueprint of writing your own Apocalypse World hack. So what the hell, I decided that this was what we should do.

As I write this I have gone through the first steps of the guide (MC Prep). It needs a little re-wording and proofreading but I will present it as I’m satisfied with it. I think I need to map out a little extra for the rules along the ideas represented by tremulus and Urban Shadows RPG (both Apocalypse World hacks). But hopefully we can get this game up and running during this month.

We’ll keep you posted!