Tag Archives: WitchQueen

Halfway Day – Mod Basic Manual Now Available!

Mod Basic Manual , free PDF.

To officially start off Halfway Day, we’re unveiling the core ruleset as a free easy-to-use PDF! It’s just the right size for scrolling through on mobile, so you can take it anywhere.

That PDF contains the full rules of the base game; character creation, spells, combat techniques, abilities, you name it! It’s just the bones of the game, but we’ve included a robust GM chapter including advice on building whatever settings or magic systems you like. It’s the backbone for City Limits and every other setting we put together.

It’s the most customizable universal we’ve ever tried, bar none. How customizable is it? Well, remember what I asked you before: if you could play in any world, what would it be?



Halfway Day – Get Ready!

We’re officially halfway through our Kickstarter campaign! Thanks so much to everyone who’s participated so far, and especially to those of you who’ve passed the campaign on to others!

To celebrate Halfway Day, we’re going to party hard tomorrow. Like we’ve traveled back to 1999! When we’re officially in the Kickstarter’s second half, we’re going to have a ton going on here for you!

Like what?

  • A major announcement about the game
  • Some staggering world fiction by an equally staggering author
  • A contest!
  • Unveiling the covers of As Above and So Below
  • The addition of some swag to the Kickstarter!

A contest, you say? I can’t tell you too much about it just yet, but think about this:

If you could set your game anywhere, in any world, what would it be?

(Our answer, as a team, is pretty much always Silent Hill. )

See you all tomorrow!

Design Corner – Misaligned

Welcome to Design Corner, where we talk a little bit about game design and the reasons we’ve made some of the choices we did. This time, we’re talking about a pet subject of mine: alignment.
Alignment is how a game codifies your character’s moral standing. In other words, some games need to have a way to translate the concept of morality into their own structure. Once it’s been translated, it can be the basis for clear, objective rules. Without an alignment system, any rules that have to deal with moral standing become subjective and hazy; lots of games, especially rules-light story games, have no problem with this approach because they don’t require hard numbers at every turn.
Why include rules based on morality? Well, for starters, they can be immensely satisfying – rewarding characters for moral actions makes the game feel more like a story, where there are clear lines between good guys and bad guys. Whether or not we want a story where the good guys always triumph, encoding morality in a game lets us bring the game’s story a bit closer to the classic stories we treasure. It lets us play in a world where a person’s moral choices are always meaningful in concrete ways.
Encoding morality also lets us re-create some of the important images of our mythology. Angels and demons are only possible in a world where morality has a concrete presence and power of its own, and the same goes for the holy knights and evil priests in their service. Being able to use, say, Smite Evil, tells the player that the battle between good and evil exists in your game just as it exists in countless timeless stories.
But it’s not a simple proposition. When you make an alignment system, you’re trying to take something without any concrete form and give it solid rules, numbers, and categories. How do you make it objective enough to be part of the rules and still keep some semblance of complexity? If it’s too basic, it will ring hollow, but too many shades of gray will be difficult to navigate. A good alignment system has to be clear, reasonably nuanced, and supported in the gameplay with interesting mechanics. It should give more to the players than it takes away, making up for the loss of freedom with satisfying game moments.
When we started out back in the day, we had “Scruples and Method” – basically, D&D’s good/evil and law/chaos axes, but on a 12-point scale. Like most of our teenage designs, this was out of frustration with the only system we knew at the time. It was nuanced, yes, but it wasn’t exactly clear because it was based on a somewhat unclear system to begin with, and we never made benchmarks. Worst of all, though, we never designed mechanics around it, so we had a system for regulating and quantifying player behavior – and exactly zero payoff. Not exactly a triumph of design.
But, we were lucky enough to have a head playtester who got into so many fights over alignment that he completely hated the entire concept. Tired of GMs telling him what his character would or wouldn’t do, he pushed for us to abandon the alignment system entirely. For all the reasons above, I wanted us to keep one, but because of Shawn’s insistence on being the only one to determine his character’s values, we came up with Code.

So, Design Corner! Assuming we’re still making a universal system (From the Design Corner on classes), do we need an alignment system? It’ll expand the archetypes players can recreate, but it will also provide limits. If we’re building a universal, then it had better work just as well in the far reaches of space as it does in 1928 Chicago. If we do decide on an alignment system, how do we minimize inconsistencies and arguments, and maximize the rewards?
Honestly, if I were to design another game, alignment would probably be the part that killed me.

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

Book of Daemons – The Gidim Irkalla

Jeanne of the Gidim Irkalla is perhaps too patient with her host, Marc.

The last of the Gidim to awaken, the Irkalla daemons are deeply involved with the threads of fate. More than any other build in the setting, an Irkalla host makes use of Luck, both to augment rolls and as a cost to spells. Between their ability to modify rolls with Luck Points, and their Atropos Whisper – the ability to ask the GM for specific numbers once per session – Irkalla hosts are more involved with the mechanics of the game itself than anyone. Built for players who like to meld their roleplay to their rollplay, Irkalla rewards careful mathematics and resource use.

Blessed One (11)(1)
Irkalla 21
Transfer 1 Luck Point
Barrier (Toughness Will+1)

Most Irkalla parameters are decidedly metaphysical, with supernatural polymorphs, luck transfers, and curses. This one creates a barrier, a magic shield that re-routes damage to the caster’s mana supply.

Where can you use Atropos Whisper? Well, you can do the obvious thing and ask the result of a roll, or ask a value from an opponent’s character sheet. For example, if you know your opponent barely made a roll, you can cast something like this:

Irritation (10)
Irkalla 20
Polymorph Quirk

Quirk is a catch-all trait meant to encompass any time a character would be distracted, irritated, sick, or otherwise not at their best. It gives the character -1 to all rolls in the presence of a certain trigger. If you know that your opponent is barely scraping by, guaranteeing them -1 by picking something nearby as a trigger can mean a lot.

But there are more numbers in the game than the ones you roll. How many people are in this room? How much is he willing to pay us to betray the organization? What time will the reinforcements arrive?

What is the opponent’s MCS designation?

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

MCS Files – 22 (Pluto)

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

The last Manifestation Control type to be stabilized, MCS-22 is all about control. MCS-22 operatives are surrounded by the Void, a one-person field of magic immunity, at all times. They cannot be targeted or influenced by spells, even magical effects of Rogue Reactions, unless they pass this Void onto someone else. They can do this with a touch, as long as the target stays within their normal spell range.

Unbelievable amounts of time and money were devoted to MCU-22 research in order to quickly force a stabilization. Many MCS-22 operatives were lab-rats during this time, and many more are not completely stable; the process has yet to be perfected. As a result, a secret society formed of rebel Pluto operatives, Hellgate, banded together out of common resentment. Resentment or not, the ability to explore Rogue Reactions and endure attacks from MC-capable civilians makes Pluto ops useful.

Although the Pluto type has a somewhat limited parameter list, Pluto spells are uniquely skilled at attacking the minds and wills of targets, with spells like this one:

Stygian Grasp (14)
Manifest 24
Polymorph Phobia (2)
Wound Sacrifice 2
Touch Range

MCS-22 is a type set apart, more in tune with the metaphysics of a changing world than the other types, and further removed from the government that created it. If you want to have the upper hand in a magic-driven campaign, or delve into a world of treason and secret societies, MCS-22 may be the type for you!

Book of Daemons – The Gidim Ishkur

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

In a good combat, a really good combat, every turn counts. Every team member’s actions need to be just right, every turn needs to give results. For some players, the minute strategy of the combat from turn to turn is all that matters, the most interesting part of the game. For them, we’ve made the Gidim Ishkur.

Gidim Ishkur hosts maintain a psychic network by investing mana in the bonds with other people. Everyone in this network can communicate telepathically, as though they were speaking aloud right next to one another, even if they’re kilometers apart. They can also share initiative in combat, trading turns to make sure the right person gets to act at the right time. Even better, they can all use any combo techs or spells the Ishkur host has spent ability points on. What’s a combo tech? Something like this:

Dance of Four
Dance 16
Combo Tech (With other combo techs on the same initiative)
Extra Attack

Dance? Really? Well, yes. Actually, as long as your GM buys your reasoning, you can make a tech out of any skill on your character sheet. Common choices include using Lie to distract an opponent, or using Convince to increase your dodge (usually titled “Not the Face”, but titles are up to you!)

Because being part of the Gidim Ishkur’s psychic network means party members can share initiative, combination abilities can go off without a hitch every time. If you need to time everything down to the second, a Gidim Ishkur host is the perfect addition to a party.

MCS Files – 30 (Jupiter)

Remember to check out the City Limits Kickstarter and to check us out on twitter at @TeamCabalGames for more updates!

Some people love it when a plan comes together. To them, a good game session is all about meeting a challenge with planning, preparation, and teamwork, making the best possible use of everyone’s skills. To that end, we made the MCS-30 (Jupiter) type, master magical strategists who specialize in planning and teamwork.

Lt. Greg is a disaster relief specialist and one-woman strategy committee.

Here’s how it works; unlike most spells, MCS-30 spells have long duration not limited by your Will. Instead, the spell is broken when your plan fails or succeeds. You choose parameters and decide on roles for your targets, and they get the parameter boosts as long as they follow your directions. It’s an excellent type to pair with a melee combatant, since all the casting takes place long before the encounter. Here’s a sample!

Infiltration Plan 15
Manifest 25
Cat – Disrupt Communications (Int +3)
Dustin – Reconnaissance (Polymorph Flying)
Kersten – Smash Front Door Open (Polymorph Regeneration)

So here’s the plan. Cat is going to tap into their communications network and disable it, so we’re giving her an Intelligence boost (she needs one). Dustin is going to watch from above and keep everyone appraised of any approaching units, so we’re giving him wings. Kersten is going to, when she gets the OK from the others, bomb the front door, so we’re giving her regeneration to deal with the fallout. If all goes according to plan, this spell will last until we’re all inside.

Let’s say things go wrong, though. If Cat is discovered, and has to fight instead of doing her work on the comm lines, then the whole spell unravels. Dustin will fall out of the sky if he’s airborne, and Kersten had better not set that bomb. So, for Jupiter more than for any other type, it’s important to plan ahead. There are lots of abilities that help, and if you can gather the team back together you can cast a new spell-plan, so all’s not lost yet! If you can think on your feet, MCS-30 is a devastating addition to an already strong team!