Today, I’m going to talk a bit about the project I’m working on as a part of my Patreon – the Heroic Horror system and setting I’m slowly building. Hopefully it piques your interest and brings you over!
The elevator pitch for the project is that the gods are dead, fallen, or hiding; cosmic evil has claimed the world; and the PCs are the underpowered, under-equipped, and unprepared line of defense for one of the last remaining bastions of good and hope in the world. Unfortunately, they’re not Heroes; they’re just people, and they’re almost certainly doomed.
The longer version is that until recently, the world had a cycle going where Evil would rise up, Heroes from long-standing lineages would arise and go stomp it down, and the world would enjoy a generation or three of peace before it happened again. It was almost like clockwork, to the point that the Heroes were annointed at birth for their duty and the good folk of the land would see them off with festivals and cheering.
This time, something went wrong; a god of unspeakable power and cruelty known only as the Darkness came from somewhere else and crushed those who opposed it. The gods are either dead – like the sun god, whose corpse casts an ashen and smoky light upon the world now – fallen to serve the Darkness, or in hiding to save themselves. A few of the evil races defected to join the survivors of the good races, and some of the good races have fallen to the Darkness. The world, it seems, is doomed – the Darkness has claimed most of it, and only a few small places hold out against the eternal void that awaits.
The characters aren’t heroes. They’re the villagers who waved and cheered as the actual heroes rode off to their doom. They wake up with a dingy grey light seeping through the shutters where the sun once rose golden and beautiful, to try to get through another day even as the world slowly dies around them. They’re the last hope of their fellows – not hope for victory, but hope for another night’s survival. Town militia, sages who’ve learned a few minor spells, disciples who were left behind to mind the temple, and scouts and entertainers who weren’t deemed useful enough to take along.
Their opposition is literally everything from feral beasts driven to rabid fury by the influence of the Darkness to the fallen heroes themselves, their minds broken and rebuilt as powerful Dark Lords bent on crushing all resistance that the world might be consumed forever.
The game is being built with a percentile design and a relatively free-form character design, using trees of perks and powers for each base class, as well as the ability to overlap with the other classes to some extent. Ultimately, if a character can survive for long enough, they may find a spark inside that can blossom into the power of a Hero. Of course, at that point, every single foe they face is going to be gunning for them, personally, so even a newly fledged hero doesn’t have good odds of survival.
Even if they do, there’s the Darkness itself; defeating it was beyond the power of heroes who were born from long lines of heroic might. To call it unlikely for the passed-over dregs of humanity to defeat it is an understatement to rival any other.
So! If this sounds like it might be interesting, feel free to drop by the Patreon and chip in; encouragement helps keep motivation up for projects like this.