Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekly Update 4.10

Disclaimer: This is being written about a project that is in progress and is an attempt to give you a glimpse in the process of making the game. Abilities, powers, and mechanics discussed in this blog my not work as described here in the final product.

This week we're going to talk about foreknowledge, kicking off with a question that came in from the forums. Special thanks to Asmael, who predicted what John and Anne were working on this week.

How does Hero's Journey deal with prophecies?

Honestly, you couldn't have timed this question better and though I thought it had been covered before, I was mistaken. When I asked about it in the weekly meeting, I got a series of exasperated sighs. They are currently working on the last few prophecy based blessings.

The inherent problem with prophecy is that sadly, no one we know is able to predict the future. Prophecy is a great storytelling tool when you know how the story ends. If you have played a roleplaying game, you know that they are hard to predict. Things can go off the rails quickly, one die roll, or one "odd" decision from a teammate can drastically alter the course of events. It makes it hard to create a prophecy, without taking away player agency.

So what I am saying is that this is still in flux, but there will be two key ways players will be able to interact with prophecy.

One way (which is being finalized now) is via Blessings the Sage Aspect. It will let players work with the GM to nudge the story in particular directions, planting the seeds of things that are to come. Again, this is still being worked out, there may be the ability for you the player to let your character say "Yeah I knew that was coming." and gain bonuses.

Another way to interact with prophecy is via Divine Favors. Let's keep it simple and say your character is prophesied to be killed by an axe (This was part of the question). At the start of game, you give your character a Prophecy of Doom (This has been very popular during playtesting). You know that your character is going to die, and an axe will be your undoing. Depending on how sadistic your GM is, you can expect to be running into axes in odd places. When your character eventually dies an axe will most definitely be involved; if your character died in a bar fight, with your last breath you will find out that the guy who finished you off was nicknames Axe, or if you die in a car accident one of the cars happened to have a fire axe in the trunk, or maybe the apartment fire that claimed your life was started by some teenagers trying to make flamethrowers using a certain men's body spray.

Doom is just one of the Divine favor prophecies, there are others that don't necessitate your death.

Moving onto this week's Blessing Preview. *Name Redacted* comes from the Knowledge Tree, If you followed the early play tests you may have seen an earlier version of it. It allowed players to use their knowledge to find weaknesses in their enemies; you might have noticed it during the basilisk fight to call out a weak spot giving other players the chance to deal more damage.

In its initial implementation thought it lead to some... interesting complications. Specifically this roll had to be used each time. For example, the party were to fight a basilisk again, but this time you roll tragically, did your character suddenly forget about basilisks? What about all the other characters, did they forget? Why are they unable to independently remember?

To solve this, Anne and John subtly changed the way the power works, it has the ability to change the way in which you fight enemies. Now when you use this blessing, using basilisks as an example, you make your roll and fail, you can't identify anything unique about this basilisk.

But let's say you succeed, and draw on your knowledge of basilisks and make a roll with the GM. The GM rolls against a table and you find out, by its marking that this is clearly a Hungarian Basilisk. Hungarian Basilisks are significantly more dangerous because they breathe fire, but their flame sacs are volatile making attacks against them do more damage.

From this point forward in the game you and your party know about Hungarian Basilisk's, their ability breathe fire, and their flame sacs being a weak spot. Not every basilisk will necessarily be a Hungarian Basilisk though. Identifying enemies will generally come with a trade off, making an enemy more dangerous, but also weaker in some way. You could roll well and find out that the enemy has all the identifying tells of being cursed by Athena, giving your team a huge advantage.

So that it for this week. Have a great weekend!


  1. "[...]or maybe the apartment fire that claimed your life was started by some teenagers trying to make flamethrowers using a certain men's body spray."
    So you could say that you died in an... Axeident?

  2. There is one thing I'm curious about when it comes to prophetic powers: the fluff. In earlier works that John and Anne have been associated with, Prophetic powers came with the strong fluff that you were receiving power by bowing to and entreating the forces of Destiny, a power beyond the Gods themselves and that such powers were never fully under the power of the character wielding them.

    I wonder if that is still the case? How in control is the character (not the player, the character) of prophetic powers?