Godly Games

Godly Games, as a project, was born from the assignment to create anything we wanted, provided it fit our portfolio. I saw a hole in my portfolio regarding Game Design and decided to remedy it by creating a TRPG-Rulebook. I set out to create a flexible rule system with a focus on role-play and shared creation between all the players. Furthermore, I wanted to make a game where players took the place of fantasy gods, creating and then shaping their world together.

Godly Games - Rar
Godly Games - Portfolio Edition.rar
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Godly Games - PDF
Godly Games - Portfolio Edition.pdf
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The first major decision I made regarding this was to write the rule book with the assumption that there would be no single Game Master. Instead, all decisions traditionally made by a Game Master would be made in the group with everyone's input. Though nothing spoke against using the systems with an active GM, I explicitly named that possibility and added a scenario idea to emphasize that this rule system is meant to be flexible.

After this start, besides setting up the fundamental way of playing and the roughest setting (the player is a God in the Greek or Norse sense, immensely powerful but not omnipotent or infallible), the rulebook is split into four major parts. “Gameplay Elements” first show off the various mechanics the player will encounter through the ruleset. This section includes both a Glossary to look up terms and sets up essential elements the player needs to know for the other parts. Then comes “Character Creation”, which contains all relevant information to create a Religion and a God, then “World Creation” with all the rules to create a world and species for your game and lastly, “Regular Play”.

A character in Godly Games consists of two parts that are closely interwoven: Tenets(Skills and attributes a God has) and Religion. Religion is how a God gains power and interacts with the mortal realm and is relatively codified. This ensures that there is some common ground to build on, a framework for changes and ideas so that players are not entirely lost. Still, they can be easily changed, or even new Religions added to the game with the group's consensus.

I also took care to provide different playstyles with the various main Religions. Proselytizing Religions(Who seek to convert as many people to their faith as possible) for those who like to spread out wide and interact with other players in more aggressive ways.

Ethnic Religions provide a way to play tall and focus on ensuring that a smaller group of your Mortals prospers, quality over quantity.

Cults focus on interactions with other plays, manipulations and applying of penalties.

On the other hand, Miracle Religions are all about interacting with the world in massive ways, while Mortal Challengers instead focus on interacting with Mortals specifically.

But besides altering the playstyle of the God, Religions are also the way they gain power, in-game represented as dice. Gods in this world need faith of some kind to use their abilities, and as such, they acquire it from their Religion. After some experimenting and playtesting, I decided to go with three kinds of dice, d4, d6, and d20. These allow for distinct power levels while still being manageable, unlike the five types of dice I went with in the first iteration. Furthermore, I chose these specific dice as they made the jump from the lowest level to the mid-level relatively minor but still impactful while making the jump to the highest level extreme. This further ensures the power dynamic between Mortals who can only gain mid-level dice or lower and the Gods who can have all three.

Tenets form the other part of the character and are intended to give the player maximum flexibility. The few rules that regulate them are to ensure no player becomes vastly more powerful than the others. The number of points the players have at the start were intentionally chosen to be ten. This number allows players to spread out their abilities a bit without getting overwhelming from the start. Furthermore, to prevent generalized Tenets from being overpowering, their strength will be halved if another player uses a more specialized Tenet. Moreover, the ability to intentionally make you worse at some things to be better at others was added to allow players to have an optional level of trade-off, without this being needed to make a good character.

Lastly, character progression comes from players being able to gain extra Tenet points from Religion-specific sources. These sources have been chosen to support each Religion's main playstyle and come naturally if you are doing well with your Religion, yet still providing a challenge other players can interrupt.

During "World Creation" the game begins and all players gain a set amount of dice, which will allow them to take several actions. The reason everyone gets the same amount is to start on a level playing field, which is also the reason no dice may be gained in any way during world creation.

The reason why every player gets to choose Themes(Something which all creations during this round should fit into), and gain one unopposable action during Themes(if they chose one that is connected to at least one of their Tenets) is to allow players to guide the world creation towards those things they would like to see in it. Themes and unopposable actions also ensure they can use their Themes without spending dice to defend their ideas. Similarly, the things a player can do are split between shape actions that change the role-playing and creation actions that give direct boni to the player in the future. Thus, creation actions need dice to be undertaken, as gaining future advantages without spending dice for them seemed off. On the other hand, many things do not impact the game that hard, like creating a mountain range, or the like, which are still necessary, and if they needed dice, players would be discouraged to choose them over more beneficial actions.

The other major game design decision I made is that only the first Mortal species a player creates can be created without rolling dice and that every created species raises the level needed. This is so that each player can easily create at least one species for their Religion without it being too easy to create multiple species, which would quickly crowd the world and lead to advantages.

“Regular Play” then starts with players creating the events that will happen during the RP. While I think it could be fun to just create and build, the real interest comes from adversity and, more generally, things happening, forcing you to adapt to new circumstances. To facilitate this I added the creation of Trials, in which each player creates a deck of events that will be mixed together and drawn during “Regular Play”. The difficulty levels and amount of each were chosen for a good escalation towards the apocalyptic event that ends each deck of trials. Though of note is that events explicitly can be both positive and negative, or even both depending on whether you manage to succeed in them or not.

Lastly, Mortals become important as they are the source of all Gods' powers and mostly do things independently (controlled by everyone through discussion). Here I wanted to make sure that while Gods need Mortals, Gods still are much more powerful. Gods both gain much more dice than Mortals and gain stronger dice, yet Mortals can act much better in the world itself. For Gods, all interactions with the world come with a payoff. The more they can influence the world, the more of their power they risk by investing it into Mortals or Avatars. Similarly, while stronger followers can do more for a God, increasing their usefulness, they also become more demanding/less likely to follow their God. Mortals with dice invested in them, for example, expect that their God keeps them on the same power level, while wealth makes nations stronger but less willing to listen to their Gods.

The current rule system is still incomplete because of time restraints. The next major things I wish to do are further balancing, further implementing Monsters as a counterweight to Mortals, and a Religion themed around Monsters. I also wanted to add more actions themed around Afterlife and Religion and more specific ways to interact with the world.