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[Recruitment] [The Nightmares Underneath] Byzantium: Nightmares Undreamed Of

Atlictoatl

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Izidor Gašperlin, Ethiopian Warrior

Greetings!

Let's play some TNU. Free edition is here. It's badass. The paid version, with all the artwork, is more badass.

This game will also use rules from the magic supplement The Nameless Grimoire. Don't worry about it if you don't have a copy; we'll figure it out.

This game will also use elements from The Perilous Wilds, Dungeon World, Fate, Vornheim, and other stuff that springs at me in the middle of the night with teeth that refuse to disengage. You don't need to own any of those tangential things. Hopefully you won't notice much when they get introduced to the game.

If you want to learn more about TNU, there's a short Let's Read of it linked in my signature.




Duration

This is likely to be a short-lived thing. My life is sideways right now, prone to chaos and disruption. I'll apologize now, ahead of time, and strive to not do much of that as we progress. We may be at it a month, possibly three. Longer than that is unlikely, but we all can dream. I'm not averse to picking things up again when I'm right-side up, if the stars align.

Style

We'll start play in a fantastical metropolis. This game will dip into wyrdness. We're here to have a ridiculous amount of fun. It will feature social and political combat as much as physical combat. It may not delve overmuch into the eponymous Nightmares of the game. At least, not overtly.

To steal something from [MENTION=14600]Julius Sleazer[/MENTION]:

I should probably write up a style guide for my game at some point, but I don't think that that's a huge priority right now. One thing I would like to mention is that in Wyzard's first OD&D campaign, I really liked it how there were basically no posts about what characters were thinking, wishing, or hoping. I'd like to get back to that; it's hard for other PC or NPCs to respond to IC posts about what a character is thinking.

Also, in my games, it is not at all unusual or outré for characters to announce exactly what they are thinking and feeling. I mean, people obviously dissemble, conceal, and lie with frequency, but announcing intentions or emotions to all and sundry happens with great frequency. Elevated volume is also a thing, too.

For instance, a barbarian might say: "The life of drafty huts and dirty hags shall no more be my own! I intend to strap on a broadsword and wander the wasteland until my attitude has been so seasoned that an adventuring company will accept me with alacrity!"

If given an insulting offer in a negotiation, rather than brooding quietly, a character might well say: "You insult me terribly! The twin serpents of shame and wrath coil themselves around my gall-bladder and spleen, flooding me with ill humors! Modify your meretricious mode of merchanting, or mope mightily as malicious murder mocks your means of mass profiteering!"

Obviously there are exceptions (magic spells or items which allow direct thought-to-thought communication, or necessary OOC asides to explain utterly unexpected behavior), but in general characters either speak freely (on the spot or later) or else maintain stolid stoicism.
Rolling dice: I'm going to roll for some stuff, you'll roll for some stuff. I don't have it all figured out yet, but this will probably default to players stating intentions and GM rolling for resolution most of the time, for expediency.

Posting rate: Daily, please



Player Selection

This is not first-come, first-served, but I'm not intending to drag out player selection. Post your interest, I'll supply attribute rolls for you, post up your character. Add a paragraph about why you want to play in the game and what you look for in games. By the end of the weekend, I'll make selections. I'm looking for five players.

PCs

I'm undecided whether to allow the Additional Professions. If you must play one, make a case for it. You'll be skirting the edge, but perhaps you'll strike lightning.

Here's the bit that made me decide that TNU was forever going to be among my favorite games. It applies here.

The Nightmares Underneath said:
Appearance

Your character may be beautiful, ugly, striking, or plain; of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and biological construction you desire; wearing any type of clothing (or not). You might be brown or white, elf or dwarf, angel or snake-tailed minotaur—as long as you are not a nightmare, you may choose as you will. Use your imagination. The numbers on your sheet remain the same, and you do not get any superhuman abilities (like flying or breathing fire) because of your appearance.

You should also decide whether you are an anomaly or if there are many like you, and whether you are celebrated, persecuted, tolerated, or unremarkable in the kingdoms that you frequent.
We're probably not playing in the default setting of the lawful and Arabian Kingdom of Dreams, so don't marry yourself to that. Our play area is definitely a place that is not overly fond of the Chaotic, but you're adventurers, and trouble is your way of life (as is the case in the base setting). So Chaotic and Evil are viable alignment choices; note that TNU makes them especially viable (p. 86).

In addition to your Attributes, Profession, Alignment, Appearance, and Motivations (per the book), please supply three Aspects: Background, Defining Aspect, Secret. Be evocatively succinct.

Here's an example:

Edmurton Hrubb, Chaotic Champion

Aspects

Gentleman of the Sword (Background)
At the core of Edmurton's demeanor and identity is his self-conception as a gentleman and a duellist. The honor of the sword represents his core convictions on how a gentleman must carry himself.

Impassioned Securer of Darkest Lore (Defining Aspect)
Having known decades of subjugation to the will of dark agencies, Edmurton now applies his expertise to the securing of the tools of those agencies, that they not fall into the hands of men.

Powerless at Her Hand (Secret)
Edmurton is entirely in the thrall of Almerin of the Seventh Stair, his erstwhile lover. He knows that she is an agent of an unknown entity and he hates himself for his powerlessness against her. He possesses wit enough to know that he is unlikely to refuse any request from her, and so has established certain safeguards against her influence.
Don't trouble yourself at this point with Spells, Equipment, or Social Class. We'll cover that after selection.

Additional Features
After player selection, as we delve further into chargen, we'll develop some contacts and establishments in the city around you. Each PC will start play invested into a Notable Institution (p 125). Don't trouble yourself with that now.




I think that's enough for now.

To apply as a player:

  • Post interest
  • I'll roll attributes for you
  • Post your character concept, including Attributes, Profession, Alignment, Motivations, and Appearance, as well as your three Aspects (Background, Defining Aspect, Secret)
  • Don't trouble yourself at this point with Spells, Equipment, or Social Class
  • Add a paragraph about why you want to play in the game and what you look for in games.
Thanks for reading this and considering the game! If nothing else, go download the free edition of The Nightmares Underneath by Johnstone Metzger. It's a treat and a treasure. Your gaming life will be better for having read it.

Edit #1: more game details here, a few posts down.
 
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Atlictoatl

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I'm always in for one of your games.
That's a pleasure to hear!

Charisma | Dexterity | Ferocity | Health | Intelligence | Willpower, in order. You can swap one set around (e.g., swap Intelligence for Dexterity).

Attributes for Lysus: 6#3d6 11 12 10 8 9 8

Social Class said:
Use your social class modifier in place of your Charisma modifier for initial reaction rolls when meeting law-abiding citizens in Byzantium. For subsequent reaction rolls, or reaction rolls by people who already know who you are, use your Charisma as normal. You may also use your social class modifier instead of your Charisma modifier when communicating by letter with law-abiding citizens and government bodies.

Social Class for Lysus' character; Random Starting Gear: 3d6 7 3d6 4

Social Class: 6-8 | Most peasants. Poor proletariats. Well-off servants and slaves. | -1 to Social Class rolls
Starting Gear: Poor But Free or Caged in Comfort - you are a poor freeman, a member of the proletariat, or a well-off servant, with a Social Class modifier of -1

You can choose between these two starting gear sets:

The Nightmares Underneath

  • You have a backpack, a bedroll, a lucky charm amulet, a wineskin, a week of rations, a spyglass, and either a light crossbow and a quiver with 2 dozen crossbow bolts or a short bow and a quiver with 2 dozen arrows.
The Nameless Grimoire

  • You have a blank notebook and a bottle of ink (but no quills), a handful of fake gemstones, a set of tools for the low-class occupation of your choice, and a bottle of cheap moonshine liquor.
and also

  • If you have mastered spells, you also have an innocuous spellbook and a travel memoir describing the local area (a neighborhood in Byzantium).
 
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thirdkingdom

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I'm interested, but it will probably be another week or two before I've actually got some free time.
 

Atlictoatl

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I'm interested, but it will probably be another week or two before I've actually got some free time.
I'm open to working with that. Good to have you aboard!

Charisma | Dexterity | Ferocity | Health | Intelligence | Willpower, in order. You can swap one set around (e.g., swap Intelligence for Dexterity).

Attributes for thirdkingdom: 6#3d6 16 17 11 13 10 5

Social Class said:
Use your social class modifier in place of your Charisma modifier for initial reaction rolls when meeting law-abiding citizens in Byzantium. For subsequent reaction rolls, or reaction rolls by people who already know who you are, use your Charisma as normal. You may also use your social class modifier instead of your Charisma modifier when communicating by letter with law-abiding citizens and government bodies.

Social Class for thirdkingdom's character; Random Starting Gear: 3d6 16 3d6 13

Social Class: 16-17 | Barons, counts, dukes, and other nobles. At this rank you may style yourself a pasha or even khan. | +2 to Social Class rolls
Starting Gear: Scion of the Great Houses - You are from the greater nobility, the child of a baron, count, or duke, with a Social Class modifier of +2

Anyone who ends up with a social class roll of 13 or higher may choose to take any one item or piece of equipment as a family heirloom they have inherited. They do not have to pay for this heirloom.

  • You have 1d6 (3) books, 1d6 (4) pistols, 2 dozen bullets and a powder horn, a “magical” amulet bought from a fortune teller, a make up kit, a shoulderbag, a wineskin, and a wooden case with a vial of ink, a dozen pieces of paper, and a dozen quills in it.
Plus additional items, dependent on your selected profession.
 
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Atlictoatl

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I'm undecided whether to allow the Additional Professions. If you must play one, make a case for it. You'll be skirting the edge, but perhaps you'll strike lightning.
Chargen Rulings / Clarifications

  • Berserker and Disciple are in. Fey Knight and Halfling are out (too alien and/or problematic).
  • Avatar, Battle Wizard, Blood Caster, Chaos Mage, Mystic, Shadowsneak, and Spellslinger from The Nameless Grimoire are in.
  • Druid and Witch from The Nameless Grimoire are out (this is predominantly an urban game, and familiars complicate things).
  • Assassin, Bard, Champion, Cultist, Fighter, Scholar, Thief, Wizard, the TNU base classes, are all in.
  • I'm open to using Marks of Heritage. If you don't have the book and I see something in your character that strikes a chord with one of the Marks, I'll make you aware of it.
  • I'll introduce in play NPCs who possess Patrons. You'll have the ability to express interest and sign up for similar alliances. While I'm technically open to starting play with those in effect, it's probably easier to introduce it in play. Keep things a little mysterious.
  • We'll be using Mission-Based Experience instead of relying solely on loot extracted from Nightmare Incursions.
So, the The Nameless Grimoire has mechanical support for bizarro character concepts, called Marks of Heritage. The premise is you've got some outlandish blood/genes, which give you both an advantage and a disadvantage. Just to open your brains about the type of wyrdness supported for this PbP game, those Heritages include things like Arachnoid, Serpentine, Angelic/Demonic/Elemental, as well as more typical stuff like Scholarly, Courtly, Elf blood, etc.

Feel free to invent your own strange parents, if you wish, for narrative effect (the mechanical effects will be limited to what's in the book). I'm listing some of the Heritages less to entice you into one of them than to illustrate that you can play an Arachno-Human Princess in this game, if you want.

Also, it's perfectly fine to not be weird. (In the circus of oddity, normalcy is freakish too.) No peer pressure here. *rakshasa thumbs up*


'About the Game' Ramblings

I'm fine with running a game for two folks. Lysus and thirdkingdom are known entities to me, and are in the game.

If there's more of you out there interested, give a holler. I realize I've been highly vague about setting and such. There's no pitch describing who the PCs are, who they're aligned with, what the place they're in is like, who their foes might be, etc. etc. That's intentional. I want to build it a bit with the players, and I want to roll some dice and have us land in it together. Mutually constructed narrative. That makes it easier to realize my desire to run something, even though I've only limited time to shape it into a thing of beauty before the players enter it. The thing of beauty will be determined with the addition of players... you! Let's roll that way.

That said, if you've questions, please ask. If you need to know something about The Nightmares Underneath, or me, or what I'm thinking about the game, in order to feel confident pitching your name into the hat, please pipe up. I'm available for conversation.

As to TNU itself, it's a game that very skillfully weds OSRishness with newer game design elements (Powered by the Apocalypse feels very adjacent). It's set in a byzantine environment where the PCs are adventurers, a professional class of folks who deal with Nightmare Incursions that continuously bubble up. It's a calling, an inherent trait. Non-adventurers go mad trying to deal with that crazy shit. Highly lucrative. Dangerous as fuck. You're rock stars with weapons and spells.

This game is a touch bit more interested in the social implications of being those rock stars than in the music playing itself. But, you know, heads will be smashed, too. Some Nightmare stuff will show up. (As if anyone could keep it away...)

Mechanically, you lot would be considered +1000 XP into 1st level (halfway to L2), meaning you're still newish blokes on the scene, but you have some experience under your belt. Still impressionable and manipulatable, though. That's where the fun comes in.... you now have access to some of the cool parties and drugs, but you've no idea who's on your side. Everybody wants stuff from you rockbois and rockgrrls, so how do you make sure you get yours and determine your own fates?

Let's play to find out.
 
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Argent

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Very interested, and will try to givre this my full attention tomorrow (going to sleep here). Looks fun!
 

Atlictoatl

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Very interested, and will try to givre this my full attention tomorrow (going to sleep here). Looks fun!
Awesome!

Charisma | Dexterity | Ferocity | Health | Intelligence | Willpower, in order. You can swap one set around (e.g., swap Intelligence for Dexterity).

Attributes for Argent: 6#3d6 12 10 6 11 9 13

Social Class said:
Use your social class modifier in place of your Charisma modifier for initial reaction rolls when meeting law-abiding citizens in Byzantium. For subsequent reaction rolls, or reaction rolls by people who already know who you are, use your Charisma as normal. You may also use your social class modifier instead of your Charisma modifier when communicating by letter with law-abiding citizens and government bodies.

Social Class for Argent's character; Random Starting Gear: 3d6 10 3d6 11

Social Class: 9-12 | The middle classes: city-folk, freemen, merchants, and proletariats. | +0 to Social Class rolls
Starting Gear: The Middle Classes - you are middle class, from a family of burghers, merchants, or the well-off proletariat, with a Social Class modifier of zero

  • You have 2 bottles of wine, a dagger, a hammer, a dozen iron spikes, a 2-person tent, 4 wooden stakes, a set of tools (for the profession of your choice), a lamellar cuirass (light armour), half a dozen torches in a sack, a tinderbox, and 1d6 (6) cyphers worth of small coins in your pockets.
And additional items specific to your profession.
 
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Atlictoatl

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Lysus is absent by design this week and thirdkingdom has expressed a time-related conflict, so I'm extending the recruitment period through August 10. Lysus, thirdkingdom, and Argent are all known entities to me, so I'm comfortable confirming a spot for them now, contingent on continued interest and ability to produce a character in that time period.

That leaves two spots open, if anyone else is interested in playing. If so, please express your interest and we can more forward from there.
 
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