Archive for the 'In a Wicked Age' Category

Dark Heart: Wicked, Invisible Cities

July 14, 2012

There are many ways to generate random planes and parishes for your game; this is merely one possible method.

The city of Dis always invades planes through urban areas, due to its sympathetic resonances with created spaces. These can be currently inhabited or long-since abandoned, such as vast ruins or tomb complexes. Consequently, it’s possible to generate both the parishes of Dis (the planes it’s already completely consumed) and the planes it is currently invading using the same method: they both involve fantastical urban locales.

Writing and then playtesting a set of tables for generating planes and parishes is an immense task, but luckily we can stand on the shoulders of giants. When you visit a new plane or parish, pick one of the themes on the following chart or roll-1 (with the result being a number 1-11, matching with the themes on the left side). Start with the first city with that theme, looking up the appropriate entry in Italo Calvino’s classic book, Invisible Cities, and using the entry to inspire your own vision of the locale. Color in the numbered circle to the left of the city’s name, to mark that it’s been used. The next time you pick the same theme, look up the next unused city.

Then, if you are visiting a parish, imagine how the place has been overrun and remade into a borough of Dis. What has persisted, in an altered form? What has been turned into something unrecognizable? What remains of the original inhabitants and how have they adapted? What people and institutions from other parts of the city have moved in?

Alternately, if you are visiting a plane, roll+0 to see how well it has resisted Dis’s advance. On a 12+, the city’s invasion has just begun and most of the residents of the plane have no idea. On a 10+, Dis has established a solid outpost in a single location; some natives are growing concerned. On a 7-9, the invasion has spread across the plane and its inhabitants faces dire choices about whether to attempt some dangerous plan or resistance or take action to preserve as much as they can before the inevitable end. On a failure, the plane is all but consumed and everyone there is struggling to deal with the fallout.

If Calvino’s description doesn’t provide enough sense of dynamism, suitably pro-active NPCs, or interesting situations for the PCs to become involved in, consult the “oracles” from D. Vincent Baker’s sword and sorcery game, In a Wicked Age, available online at The oracles named The Unquiet Past and A Nest of Vipers are probably the most appropriate for this game, but draw inspiration from Blood & Sex and God-Kings of War as you like.

For an alternate method of plane generation, you might try using the planet-generation rules in Kevin Crawford’s Stars Without Number, which is also available for free online.

The Oracle Must Be Consulted

September 18, 2008

In a Wicked Age-style oracles for running The Matrix. Just a sketch right now, but I’m going to try to keep working on them. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Basically my thought right now is that individual sessions are built by rolling on the Broadcast / Desert tables to acquire a mixture of Matrix / Real World issues and then the Oracle / Need an Exit tables are used when the situation demands. Right now, I’m building models of the tables based on quotes from the movie, to try to develop the right voice, but eventually these will be generalized.

Exactly What I Needed to Hear
Consult this oracle when a character consults The Oracle.

“But you already know what I’m going to tell you.”
“You’ve already made the choice. Now you have to understand it.”
“I love candy.”
“Sorry, kid. You got the gift but looks like you’re waiting for something.”
“He’s going to sacrifice his life to save yours.”
“One of you is going to die. Which one, will be up to you.”
“All I can do is tell you that your friend needs your help.”
“You are a bastard, you know that?”
“Everything that has a beginning has an end. I see the end coming, I see the darkness spreading. I see death.”
“I’d ask you to sit down, but, you’re not going to anyway. And don’t worry about the vase.”
“You’re cuter than I thought. I can see why she likes you.”
“That’s the way these things go.”
“I wanna tell you a little secret, being the One is just like being in love. No one needs to tell you you are in love, you just know it, through and through.”

Agents Are Coming / I Need an Exit
Consult this oracle when a character is trying to get out of The Matrix or has gained the attention of Agents.

“You always told me to stay off the freeway. You said it was suicide.”
“Franklin and Erie. An old T.V. repair shop.”
“It just went dead.”

The Desert of the Real
Consult this oracle when the characters return to the real world.

“The machines have gathered an army and that army is drawing nearer to our home.”
“Are you here to escort me to the stockade, Captain?”

Prepare to Broadcast / I Know Kung Fu / Guns, Lots of Guns
Consult this oracle whenever the characters need a reason to enter The Matrix, which is almost always an excuse for a big fight scene at a great location.

“There is a building. Inside this building there is a level where no elevator can go, and no stair can reach. This level is filled with doors. These doors lead to many places. Hidden places. But one door is special. One door leads to the source.”
“The Keymaker is mine and I see no reason to give him up. No reason at all.”
“All of our lives, we have fought this war. Tonight I believe we can end it.”
“In five minutes, I’ll tear that whole goddamn building down.”
“Just follow the sirens.”
“We have the name of their next target.”