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Gates of Gehenna - OSR-inspired Dagger&Cloak RPG

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Heya everyone,

my name is Mr.Misfit and I am in the process of writing and refining a OSR-inspired little Dagger and Cloak game.
In the process of writing this up I found, that one person alone cannot really rest nor critique
such a design only by his own experiences and am therefore turning to all you out there,
the collected experience of the interwebs, especially as your community has been
specifically been pointed out to me.

GoG features:

- Brutal and dangerous, yet simple combat system
- Class-less talent/feat system that allows for individualization of character abilities
- Unique organic character advancement system
- Simple mechanics by using small modifiers and Ad-/Disadvantage system
- Flaw-system for added ability to create drama and narrative opportunities
- Easy but "possibly" deep opponent system allowing for customization of enemies for the GM
- A dark and dangerous setting of persecution, plagues and war, where a single word can lead to riots and murders
- Advanced rules allowing to personalize play experience with different elements like character points or horror elements

You can find the rules here and the character sheet  here.

Just downloaded and did a quick skim. Layout was simple and easy to read. I wasn't expecting setting info, and that was pretty nice to see. Mechanics looked simple at first glance. Honestly, I'm looking forward to looking this over during the holidays. Obviously can't say much right now, but will try and read it more in-depth over the holidays and give my thoughts. Looks interesting already though!

Ok, I've read the first few chapters, so I thought I'd post my thoughts currently.

Generally, I think it might be a little crunchy for my own tastes, but I suppose I'll see more if that plays out the further I get in. It kind of reminds me of the Traveller system for rolling, basically almost always 2 dice, beat a DC. At first glance I think the Level of Difficulty table seemed liked needless complexity. Your attributes give you bonus to your die rolls, but instead of it being a flat bonus, the DC for an Easy, Common, Taxing, Difficult, Backbreaking, Unmanageable task also gets higher the higher your bonus is. The math still works out that the better your bonus the easier it is to make, but it seemed needlessly complicated at first glance, and this would definitely be a table I'd want on my GM screen. On the attribute examples, I did like that you had examples laid out for what would be considered Common, Taxing, Difficult, Backbreaking, Unmanageable, and one not on the Level of Difficulty chart. I was cross-referencing as I was reading. I was unsure why it went higher than the chart, and didn't have one that lined up with Easy. Or maybe it lines up with the chart as if your attribute had a +3?

I thought it was an interesting system that your attributes have their own dice size too. Mortal attributes have you roll 2d6, gifted 2d8, and supernal 2d10. I haven't gotten into how you figure that out yet, but it seems like a nifty idea, and it was also something I was trying to keep in mind while looking at the LoD chart.

I also liked that you took the (Dis)Advantage system from 5e. Nice grab.

Some wording I thought was unnecessarily terse. At first read I wasn't sure how Sets and Helping worked, but after a careful reread I think I got it. I think I would just go into a little more depth on them.

I thought your examples that you wrote out were all nice! I also enjoyed the Summaries at the end of each chapter.

9 Attributes that I thought were pretty easy to understand: Agility, Charisma, Constitution, Influence, Intuition, Logic, Perception, Resolve, Strength. Corresponding charts for DCs using that ability were also nice. The only one I didn't quite get was Intuition, DC15: Conceal item while forcefully stripsearched. It didn't seem to line up with Intuition very well in my mind, but maybe I'll learn more as I read more. I also thought that maybe you could lose an attribute or 2. A couple seemed to be overlapping.

I thought the Health Level system was very interesting, and I'm looking forward to reading more about it. The table for At Deaths Door was also pretty cool. Talents and Ambitions seemed to call back to narrative based games like Dungeon World or even the Burning Wheel. I'm interested to see how those play in once I get more into it.

Basically, I'm just a few chapters in. Its a pretty easy read and well formatted. There were a few grammatical and spelling errors that an editor might help with (and sorry I forgot to jot them down). I'm worried some of it might be too crunchy for me personally, but it seems extremely unique and I'm looking forward to reading more. I would recommend others to look it over themselves too.

I'll write back more once I've read some more.

It seems I´ve got far too much time on my hand. It´s not everything, but it is still very much work-in-progress. Baby steps.

New version, in accordance with feedback I´ve gotten from all over the interwebs.
The previously posted link still works and remains.

Changes 0.48
- More examples
- Added some images to make mechanics clearer
- Rewrote several smaller rules to clear possible problems
- Added example character creation + sheet
- Added quick rules overview on back of character sheet
- Rewrote GM mechanics to use less rolls -> Players now roll attack & defense
- Ambition changed to differ between stage 1-3/4-5
- Changed Steppe Fever to be more in line with creative vision
- Added page numbers where useful (There might be many more places I missed)
- Lowered shield durability across the board
- Threw out d% mechanics to use general resolution mechanics instead

Pladohs Ghost:
I've read a couple of versions, now. It looks quite playable as it is, as there was little I didn't understand on first reading.

I had to take in the table setting out what qualified as how difficult a check for what rating a couple of times, though, to figure out what it was for. It's for advancement, correct? The advancement rules call for so many checks of certain difficulties to qualify for an advance, right, and as the ratings get higher, what checks qualify also change.

That seems needlessly complex, I figure. why not just call for so many rolls of 11+ on checks? Not adjusted rolls, just natural rolls of the dice. After so many such high rolls, the ability can be advanced. That seems to be the same sort of mechanism while also being a lot easier to track.

What'd you use to make the maps?


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