The question is: Describe a cool part of a system that you love.
Self-promotion alert! It’s one of my own games…
In The Dee Sanction, the players take on the role of agents working for Queen Elizabeth in defence of the realm against supernatural forces as Agents of her advisor and alchemist, John Dee.
One facet of this means dealing with unsettling things and entering locations overwhelmed with the taint of the otherworldly. In Cthulhu Hack, I handled this with Sanity checks. That game puts investigators under pressure and these checks see if the revelations break them. In Lovecraft’s stories that happens a lot, as the narrator or protagonist struggles with what they uncover.
In The Dee Sanction, I wanted something similar, but also flavourful. And so Unravelling became a thing.
In an age on the cusp of scientific discovery, experts believed that our bodies maintained a balance of four humours. In perfect balance, all was well. Out of balance, they took a toll on our bodies, evidenced by the symptoms of illness.
Unravelling the supernatural tugging at the fabric of our world, and the impact of the strange upon the player characters given form in the humours. As characters experience the horrors and corruption of the world around them, they roll their Unravelling Die and a 1 or 2 drops the size of the die next time and leaves a mark in unbalanced humours.
Too much phlegm dulls the senses, which might leave the character struggling with grief or incapable of making swift decisions. A surfeit of black bile fills the character with a torrent of emotion, resulting in bouts of panic or in tear-filled silent sorrow. With names like canker-sorrowed, capricious, or fat-witted, it was a mechanic that fitted the themes and historical setting of the game.
RPGaDay is a prompt-driven experience in tabletop roleplaying, initiated by Dave Chapman of Autocratik, and powered by me and you.
The prompts for this year are as follows — and you can find out more on Dave’s website.