Saturday, May 11, 2019

Time in Life Without Death, A Dark Souls + GLOG Mash up

Quick Summery of the Setting in Life Without Death

Death has vanished, he's not dead, he's just somewhere else, not doing his job and no one knows where he went or what happened.

Since the dead souls have no where to go they come back to life. Common folk who die once or twice loose their minds and turn into monsters, some people like soldiers or adventurers have died many times and kept themselves sane, some people never die but they still loose their mind.

The Gods didn't kill each other, they just beat each other too a pulp and they're way to weak to do anything, even heal themselves. Their followers would be ashamed to see them now.

Civilization has completely fallen. This is post apocalyptic fantasy.

The setting and game is derived from GLOG and Dark Souls, with heavy inspiration from a YouTube series called The Sunfall Cycle.


In Life After Death there are 4 units of time.

Cycles: A cycle is 10 turns. When a cycle has finished, two things happen:

       1. Everyone that has died comes back to life

       2. Monsters that didn’t die in the last cycle now double their Hit Points, Bonus to Hit, and Damage. All enemies return to normal after the party rests at a shrine.

Turns: Each turn is 10 minutes. A fight always takes a turn to not only fight, but also to rest/clean up after it. Short rests also take a turn.

Rounds: Each round is 3 phases

Phases: During combat, there are 3 blocks of time, each called a phase. At the beginning of each round of combat each character makes an initiative roll, success indicates that the player will act in the 1st phase. The enemies act on the 2nd phase. And the rest of the players who failed their initiative roll act on the 3rd phase. In other words, if you succeed your initiative roll, you go before your enemies, if you fail, you go after them, initiative rolls are repeated after each round.

I also made a sheet to help track time.

As the turns go on mark the bubbles. When players use a shrine you can put a checkmark by the line. If you want to note things like torches or other things that will only last a certain amount of turns you can mark them in the boxes below the bubbles. (BTW the reason it's off centered is to make it easy to hole punch.)

Let's Talk about Time

So tracking time and punishing players for taking time is common in OSR games. Usually if players are in a dungeon the Referee might make a random encounter roll after a certain amount of time has passed.

With the system now, there can not only be a chance of a fight, but it's inevitable that the longer players travel without resting then things will get much harder.

Dark Souls always made the player wonder if they should return to rest or if they should continue onward. If they rest they'll have to go through the same trials and start over. But now there's another complication to this formula which is about applying a constant pressure to the party. Hopefully this will encourage more creativity since failed actions might take a turn to accomplish, so coming up with solutions to problems that don't require dice rolls will be advantages. But I haven't play tested any of this yet so who knows.

I have an explanation of what happened to Death, I wont reveal it just yet though, I think I'll make a post dedicated to several scenarios on what happened to Death in the future. But the reason I bring this up is because I don't have an explanation of why enemies get stronger after each cycle. I'm trying to put gameplay first above everything else, so even if I can't come up with a narrative answer, if it works for the game then that's the only reason it needs to stay. I think if this isn't a feature, then what needs to be added on is something similar to hollowing, where death can have lasting repercussions even after visiting a shrine. I just really want there to be a time pressure. But maybe in play testing things will change, this is all just theory, and I'm not even a game designer.

Bosses and NPC's in Dark Souls don't come back to life when they die, but I don't think that will inherently be true in Life After Death. Sometimes people will die like normal, maybe they died and came back 100 times before, this was just there last go at life. Maybe that boss that's guarding the gate decided to do something else with it's life, and the becomes an NPC. Maybe there will be other NPC adventuring groups that can bother the players death after death.

One last thing. Time is weird. When the God of time can't do his job, that just messes everything up. For example, if players find an NPC somewhere near a shrine, then go to the shrine and back to their hub world and quickly come back, that NPC could be long gone. Time is weird. Also it could be fun if you have a new player entering the group to tell them some details about the dungeon/area that the party doesn't know yet, how do they know this? Well maybe they stumbled in to this new party from a different time line. Things gets weird when there's not a God to make sure paradoxes don't happen.

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Time in Life Without Death, A Dark Souls + GLOG Mash up

Quick Summery of the Setting in Life Without Death Death has vanished, he's not dead, he's just somewhere else, not doing his jo...