View Full Version : Deities at War v1.1 (System)

2009-04-19, 01:47 PM
I threw the following together over the past three days, and I'd really appreciate some comments. I hope to playtest it soon, but first I'd like to have a bunch of people with attention to detail and an eye for brokeness (you folks) to read it through to see if anything leaps out at you.

Are there any powers or whatnot that just drip cheese? Are underpowered? Is there any part of the rules that are ambiguous or unclear? Any parts need more work? Need something simpler? Is there anything that looks like it just wouldn't be any fun to deal with?

And, of course, if you see anything that is perfectly balanced, utterly clear, wonderfully designed, and super-fun-sounding, tell me that too, and also link the thread it was in.

(Also, if you'd be interested in playtesting this, say so.)

2009-04-19, 01:48 PM

Deities at War is a game in which players, as deities, vie for influence over the mortal world. One impartial referee administers the game while two or more other players compete in the roles of divine beings. Though Deities at War can be played in a strict mechanical sense (simply saying what actions you take and what stats you have) as a board game, it is meant to provide the backbone for an in-character role-playing narrative, and was designed specifically for play-by-post.

Please note that while individual players may use them as a source of inspiration, this game is in no way meant to reflect upon, portray, or compete with real world religions. Most players don’t need to be told this, but for those who do, there you have it. Remember that religion can be a touchy subject and that your fellow players may need to approach the subject delicately, even if you don’t.

Presented here are the Player’s Guide and the Referee’s Guide. Everyone in the game should read the Player’s Guide. The Referee must also read the Referee’s Guide. Players are invited to read it as well, to better understand how the outcomes of their actions are determined, but they do not need to.

The important thing to recall, for roleplaying purposes, is that this system will tell what happens but not why or how it happens. An “attack” in this system could be a horde of barbarians charging with spears, demons cracking the earth open to swallow their enemies, or a deity snapping Her fingers and poofing them out of existence… or something more subtle, such as a magical soothing of their emotions to cause them to desert their deity of choice. The underlying mechanic is that the victim no longer exists in service of the opponent, but how it happens is very much open to interpretation. Similarly, if a unit fails its roll to move, why it happens is a matter of interpretation. Maybe it got distracted by minor crises where it was, or couldn’t procure supplies for the journey, or got laid low by a disease, or trapped by weather. The system specifically does not answer these questions, but rather leaves them to the players to answer in their narratives.

2009-04-19, 01:50 PM
Player’s Guide

Starting the Game -- Die Rolls -- The Map -- Terrain Types

Starting the Game

Prior to the game, each player should come up with a description of their deity’s characters and portfolio. The referee may deem a detailed write-up as either required or optional. At the very least, a player must choose two affinities for their deity. Affinities hint at the deity’s specializations, and provide bonuses when dealing with regions where those affinities hold sway. The possible affinities are Mountains, Cities, Plains, Forests, Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn, and Death.

The referee will have set up the game map prior to the beginning of the game and chosen a starting season for the year, but players must choose their affinities before seeing the map or knowing the starting season.

Once affinities are chosen, the map is revealed and the first turn begins.

Die Rolls

Though most questions of exact mechanics are delegated to the Referee’s guide, players should have some sense of exactly what the various dice rolls mean. Any action will require the rolling of some number of six-sided action dice – usually equal to the amount of power spent on the action. (See Power Pool and Actions, below.) Rather than summing up the rolled dice to see if they total greater than some amount (as in many games), the referee will instead tally the number of individual dice which exceed a certain threshold. This is the number of successes rolled. What this means depends on the action in question, but rolling more successes never hurts. (For the deity that rolled them, that is; rolling more successes often hurts an opponent.) Typically, the threshold for a success is 5 or higher, giving each die an expected value of 1/3 success. However, bonuses can add +1, +2, or in extreme cases +3 to die rolls, resulting in a threshold of 4, 3, and 2 respectively. Similarly, penalties can increase the threshold by 1 or 2 (requiring a 6 or 7, the latter meaning the roll automatically fails). When multiple bonuses and penalties affect a die, only the worst bonus and the worst penalty are applied.

The Map

The map is comprised of individual regions, specific zones where the action can occur. Each region has a terrain type, a current population, a maximum population, and some amount of ley energy. The map should be set up so that it is clear which regions are adjacent to which. Adjacent regions are said to share a border and be a distance of 1 away from each other. To find the distance between non-adjacent regions, trace the shortest path from one to the other and count the number of borders crossed.

The population number represents the people living in the region, and the maximum population represents the most people that can live in the region. The first number can change throughout the game; the second never can. Population can be converted into followers for one deity or another, providing them with willing servants and power derived from worship. Ley energy is a valuable resource for a deity. Deities can gain control of it by having sacred sites built in the region. The typical region starts with 3 population, has a maximum capacity of 5 population, and has 2 ley energy. However, this can vary by terrain type.

Terrain Types


Every player begins the game with two Sanctum regions that are uniquely theirs: the inner and outer sanctum. These represent the personal heaven, hell, nirvana, primal glade, or whatever that the deity calls home. These regions will always have their deity’s chosen affinities associated with them. While enemy players can invade them, they are at a disadvantage when they do so. All regions which aren’t sanctums are referred to collectively as “the mortal world”. Sanctums are not adjacent to any other region (save the border between inner and outer sanctum), but special abilities allow powerful units to move between the outer sanctum and the mortal world. They also provide a place where the deity can affect the mortal world with Divine Intervention. The inner sanctum is even more defensible than the outer, and serves as the seat of the deity’s power. While deities can leave their sanctums, they should not do so lightly.


Cities start with 6 population and have a maximum population of 10. City residents tend to be more cosmopolitan and jaded than their rural counterparts and are harder to convert, requiring an extra success for each population converted.


Plains have a maximum population of 8 and 3 ley energy. The flat land is difficult to defend but helps logistics. Attack and slaughter actions taken by units in a plains region, or targetting a plains region, get a +1 bonus.


Forests have 4 ley energy. They also make visibility more difficult, which can be both a blessing and a curse. A forest counts as one region more distant than it should when determining visibility into, out of, or through it; thus, for visibility within the forest, it counts as 1 region away instead of 0, for visibility between a forest and a neighbor it counts as 2 regions away instead of 1, et cetera.


Mountains are highly defensible; all defense rolls made in mountains gain a +1 bonus. The rocky terrain makes movement difficult, requiring an extra success to move into or out of the region.


Each region in the mortal world has two or three affinities affecting it at a given time. First, it has the affinity corresponding to its terrain type. Second, all regions in the mortal world have the seasonal affinity corresponding to the present turn. Finally, a region which has lost population to the Slaughter action or has had a Devotee destroyed in it will have the Death affinity for one year (four turns). Several regions should begin the game having this affinity, and will retain it through turn 4. Actions affecting a region for which you have an affinity give you a bonus on all rolls. Note that these apply only to the mortal world – Sanctums always have the affinities of their controlling player and nothing else.

2009-04-19, 01:51 PM
Player's Guide

Power Pool -- The Turn Sequence -- Sight and Visibility -- Winning and Losing

The Power Pool

Deities are not omnipotent… at least, not when fighting deities with which they are evenly matched. They derive power from worship and from control of the world’s ley energies. Power is represented by the Power Pool – the sum total of all power which a deity has at His or Her control at the beginning of Her turn.

Each Deity produces 3 power if She has a deity unit on the board. She also receives 5 power if She is in Her outer sanctum, and 10 if She is in Her inner sanctum. Mass worship produces 1 power per Follower unit. Finally, every Sacred Site channels 2 or 3 power per the site’s power rating per turn to the Deity.

A deity can’t accomplish anything without expending power. Units need to be properly directed by way of dreams and visions which make the deity’s will clear to them. More complex activities require more involved visions. Second, some of a unit’s most powerful abilities require direct fueling from Her hand. The most powerful units (divine agents and greater agents) require a constant feed of divine energy, and must receive a set amount of Power in upkeep each turn or fade out of existence. And finally, a deity can use power to directly intervene in the world, be it with hurled lightning bolts or blessings which keep Her people from harm.

Regardless of what She does with it, a deity can’t spend more than Her power pool each turn, though her action may increase her power pool in subsequent turns. The Power Pool is refreshed from its sources every turn. Spent power can be spent again in subsequent turns, and there is no way for unspent power to carry over to future turns.

The Turn Sequence

Play proceeds in a turn-based manner with all players taking their turns simultaneously. Every turn corresponds to a season of the year, and four turns make a year. The seasons progress in the normal manner – spring, summer, autumn, winter – and do have a mechanic effect on the game. The turn sequence breaks down into two phases.

In the Action phase, the deities decide what actions they and their faithful will take. The player draws up a list of these and gives it to the referee.

In the Resolutions phase, the referee decides the outcomes of the actions, and informs the players of what has (or hasn’t) happened.

Players are invited to write narratives from their deity’s point of view (or the point of view of their units) describing emotional or actual reactions to events, plans, conversations, contemplations, or just “day in the life” vignettes of the deity performing Her godly tasks or Her worshipers going about their more mundane routines. The referee may call on players to edit regional descriptions to be less contradictory (if one player describes a forest as boreal evergreens and another describes it as tropical jungle, for example). However, deities can (for no game-cost) change the description of a region if they control all the population and all the ley energy in it. Players are not required to agree on regional names; they might be referred to as something else by members of another religion. Players should post their narratives for public viewing at the same time as they send their actions to the referee. The referee may make this a requirement of the game, or may instead allow the players to limit themselves to pure mechanics if they so choose.

Sight and Visibility

Deities in this game are not omniscient… at least, not when operating in a world not yet fully theirs against other deities which are about their equal in strength. Their view of the mortal world is vast, but limited, and a deity will only be able to see some units and actions, not necessarily all.

Some things are always and automatically visible. You will always be aware of your units, the actions your units take, and actions taken against your units. You will always know how much your opponents have in their power pools and how much they spend each turn, though not what they spend it on. You will always be able to see the full map of all the regions, including opponent sanctums. You will always be able to see the affinities of those regions, as well as their ley energy, their maximum population, and their current population, and will be explicitly notified by the referee when ANY region’s population increases or decreases. You will not, however, automatically know who claims the ley energy or population. Thus, unless you can make out the individual followers through the sight rules, you will not be able to tell the difference between a city with 6 unconverted population and a city wholly in the grasp of an opposing deity. Nor will you be able to tell the difference between a forest with 4 unclaimed ley energy and one where an opposing deity claims all the ley energy unless you actually see the sacred site in question. Whether or not you can see these units, or see enemy actions not targeting your units or actions, depends on

Visibility can take many forms – scouts sent out by an order militant, traveler’s reports, the scrying of diviner-priests – but follows the same mechanic regardless. Enforcing this limited, fog-of-warred view of the world is the primary purpose of the referee. Anything your units can see, you can see.

Enemy actions and units will sometimes be seen and sometimes escape your notice. The distance at which a unit can be seen is its power rating minus 2. Thus a unit with a power rating of 4 can be seen 2 regions away, and a unit with a power rating of 2 can only be seen within the same region. This distance can be reduced with the hide action, or increased if the seeing unit uses the Sight action. A unit with a power rating of 1 can be seen from -1 region away and is thus effectively invisible to opponents even in the same region. Forests are particularly hard to see into, out of, or through; doing so makes the distance count as 1 higher per forest involved. (Thus to see out of a forest, through an adjacent forest, and into a forest beyond that makes the effective distance 5 – 2 to begin with, +3 for three forests.) Note that more powerful units cannot see farther, but can be seen from further away. Actions are visible using the same formula, but using the action’s action dice in place of the unit’s power rating.

Seeing an action tells you what type of action it is, what region it is happening in and how many action dice are being used for it. It does not necessarily tell you what units are doing it, their location, or the location or identity of the action’s target. However, if you can see the unit taking the action or the target of the action by other means, you will be able to clearly identify them as the perpetrator or target of this action.

Seeing a unit tells you its location at the end of the turn (possibly after it has moved), its type, its power rating, and its owner, and also informs you if it was destroyed or created this turn. It does not tell you what actions it may be taking part in or what actions may be targeting it this turn or what action it might be taking, though if you can see those actions by other means you will be able to identify them as targeting or being done by this unit.

Some divine interventions merely supplement actions and cannot be made out independent of the action, though they will likely make the action more visible by adding action dice. Other divine interventions, however, intervene more directly. These have their own action dice and can be seen just like an action which occurred in their target region. Seeing a Divine Intervention lets you know what type of Intervention it is and how many action dice it uses, as well as which deity performed it. You will not, however, be able to identify the target unless you see it as well.

You can never target something you can’t see. You have to know those cultists are there before you try to exterminate them.

Sight expires after the resolutions phase of next turn. Thus, things you see this turn can be targeted next turn during the action phase, and the outcome of any action or divine intervention you targeted at them, but won’t necessarily be able to keep track afterwards. However, if you see a unit you’ve seen before, you will be able to identify it as the same unit. Actions and Divine Interventions don’t remain in play past when they occur, meaning that you won’t be able to “keep an eye on them”. However one Divine Power can target recent actions and Divine Interventions (if you could see them to begin with) to identify their targets and perpetrators.

Winning and Losing

If your deity unit is destroyed and your power pool can never rise to the 20 power necessary to reconstitute Her, you lose.

If ever point of population on the map is killed, all players lose.

If every other deity loses but you have not, you win.

2009-04-19, 01:53 PM
Player's Guide



Aside from any direct, divine intervention a deity may choose to make from Her inner sanctum, She is limited to acting through her worshippers and heavenly (or perhaps less highly originated) host, or walking the world personally. These faithful, and the deity Herself, are represented by units. Units belong to a single player and clearly occupy a single region at a time.

You begin with one deity unit in your inner sanctum and cannot create another. Other units can be created by way of actions or divine interventions. Players are encouraged to give their units unique names when created. Otherwise, the referee can name the units or give them some generic name (such as Follower #36).

Note that there is no rule barring multiple units from occupying the same region, even if they have different owners.

Power Rating

Every unit has a type, which usually defines its power rating. Power ratings range from 1 (for fairly mundane followers) to 5 (for the deity Herself). The greater the unit’s power rating, the more it is capable of doing and the more raw strength they may be imbued with.

Power rating indicates how much a unit can spend on the action. A unit with a power rating of 2 can spend 1 or 2 power on an action, while a unit of power rating 4 can spend up to 4 power rating on an action. As power spent on an action usually translates into action dice, and so being able to spend more power on actions is better. All actions have a power cost. This is the minimum power a unit must spend to perform the action. Therefore, if an action’s power cost exceeds a unit power rating, the unit cannot do it.

A unit power’s rating limits the ability of the unit’s deity to help it. Some Divine Interventions supplement a unit’s dice rolls with further power, but no action may be supplemented in this manner by a total greater than its performing units’ total power rating.

As mentioned in the section on sight and visibility, the more powerful a unit is, the further away an opponent can be and still see it.

Defense Rolls

All units automatically contribute their power rating to defense rolls in the region they occupy. This happens automatically, without any power needing to spent, if your forces in that region are attacked. It doesn’t matter how many opponents attack you with how many units in a given turn; you only get one defense roll per turn, which will apply to any such attack. Defense rolls reduce the successes of the attack and thus help keep your units alive, with every two successes on the defense rolls countering one incoming success. More powerful units contribute more dice to defense and die after less powerful units, but still take only the same number of successes to kill as less powerful units once you burn through their contribution to defense and their meatshields. Note that defense rolls made for mountain regions get a +1 bonus.


Some unit types come with an upkeep cost. If not paid in the actions phase, the unit vanishes at the end of the turn (after any actions are resolved). Upkeep costs are paid by default unless the player specifies otherwise. If another unit of that type is later created, it is said to be the same unit for naming and identification purposes. (Priority is given to the oldest units if there’s more than one waiting to be reconstituted.)

Types of Units


Power rating: 1.

Followers represent large masses of fairly mundane worshippers (about ten thousand) organized to further their deity’s will, and will tend to have names which reflect this – St. Balendel’s Order , Knights of the Thundering Halls, etc, rather than an individual name like Utrec the Wise.

Followers correspond to a unit of population on the map, and this makes them something in the way of oddballs as far as units go, as their creation, movement, and destruction affects the map’s population. In particular, the limited population to recruit from, and the limited capacity of regions to hold population, may result in a case where 2 players might make successful actions to claim a single limited resource (such as the last unconverted population or the last bit of a region’s capacity for followers to move into) . In this case, the referee will split the remaining capacity between the players, favoring the player with the most successes. This kind of situation is called Contested Resources, and the exact method the referee will use for splitting the limited capacity can be found in the Referee’s Guide.

Each follower generates one power per turn for its owner’s power pool. Unconverted population can be turned into followers using the Convert action, and followers can make more followers by creating more population with the Multiply action. Followers move by way of the Migrate command, which moves their corresponding population. If a follower is killed with the Slaughter action, the corresponding population is destroyed. Followers are also needed to produce Devotees by way of the Elevate command.


Power Rating: 2.

Devotees are the most powerful and blessed of a deity’s mortal followers. They represent the saints, avatars, and messiahs of the deity. To create them, 3 power must be paid and the Elevate ability must successfully be used on a follower unit; the follower is unaffected by this.

In addition to being able to do much that a follower can’t, by lieu of higher power rating, a Devotee is also the only unit that can be the target of the Martyr and Resurrection Divine Powers, and then only in the turn after they are destroyed.

Devotees are individual, highly-revered mortals and should be named as such.

Divine Agents

Power rating: 3.

Upkeep: 5

Divine agents represent rank and file angels, the souls of fallen heroes, demons, spirits of nature and the elements, or whatever is appropriate for the deity. Unlike followers and devotees, divine agents do not permanently die. Instead, if a divine agent has been destroyed and the player creates a new divine agent, it is assumed to be one of the ones in the queue waiting for reconstitution, with priority given to the oldest ones created. The only mechanical difference this makes is that the reconstituted divine agent will be the same one as was destroyed earlier, and opponents who saw it before its destruction will be able to identify it as the same unit.

Divine agents can only be created in a deity’s own inner or outer sanctum, with the Constitute Divine Agent power.

Divine agents gain a +1 bonus on any roll they make.

Greater Agents

Power rating: 4.

Upkeep: 10

These are the most powerful of the heavenly (or infernal, or whatever) host. They are like Divine Agents in most respects, but a rank above, so to speak. They are created with the Constitute Greater Agent power and can be formed only in the inner sanctum. Divine Agents gain a +2 bonus on any roll they make, and also give a +1 bonus to any roll made by any friendly roll of action dice made in the same region.


Power rating: 5.

This unit corresponds to the deity Herself. She gets a +3 bonus to any rolls she makes for actions and defense dice (not Divine Interventions) and gives a +2 bonus to any friendly roll of action dice made in the same region.

Deities can reform after being destroyed. Doing so costs 20 power, and the deity reforms in Her inner sanctum. No other action save paying upkeep can be taken by that player until after the Deity has reconstituted, wasting a turn. Her units can do nothing but roll defense dice. If it becomes impossible for a Deity to ever pay the 20 power, She is eliminated from the game (the player loses), but Her units remain in place, taking up resources and resisting attempts to destroy them. Note that since sacred sites of deities with seasonal affinities can produce more power during the season in question, and the death affinity may see the death affinity be applied to a region with Her sacred sites, it may be possible for Her to pay the 20 power even if her power pool is less than that at the moment.

If a Deity is in Her outer sanctum, She can perform direct Divine Interventions to anywhere in the mortal world. Otherwise, She is limited to influencing the region She is currently in plus Her sanctums.

Deities generate 3 power. If a Deity is in Her Inner Sanctum She generates an additional 10 power for a total of 13. If a Deity is in Her outer sanctum She generates an additional 5 power for a total of 8.

Sacred Sites

Power Rating: Variable.

Sacred Sites are temples, monasteries, stone circles, desecrated or consecrated ground, or anything appropriate to your deity. They tap into the region’s ley energy, claiming its power for the deity.

Sacred sites are created, and improved, with the Build command. Sacred sites have a power rating dependent upon how many successes were made in Build commands to create or enhance them. Sacred sites are not destroyed as normal; rather, when "destroyed" by an attack action, reduce its power rating by one. Sacred sites can lose at most one power rating per attack action which harms them, and are always the lowest priority to be a casualty regardless of their power rating.

If the sacred site’s region shares an affinity with the sacred site’s owner, it adds 3 power per turn for every point of power rating it has. Otherwise, it produces 2 power per turn per power rating.

Sacred Sites may perform most actions, but cannot move or be moved from their region.

Each deity may only have one sacred site per region. Furthermore, the total power rating of all sacred sites in a region may not exceed the region’s ley energy. This may result in the ley energy being a contested resource between two deities attempting to build in the region at the same time. The referee will resolve such conflicts while ensuring that the maximum is not exceeded. See the Contested Resources section of the Referee’s Guide for details.

2009-04-19, 01:54 PM
Player's Guide


Action Mechanics

Aside from Divine Interventions, everything that can be accomplished in the game is done with actions.

In the Actions Phase, all players simultaneously and secretly declare all actions their units will take during the turn and submit this information to the Referee. Each unit can take only one action, but is not required to take any.

To take an action, you must specify one or more targets, depending upon the type of action to be taken. Some potential targets, such as regions or population, are always visible; others, such as enemy units, might be visible as a result of seeing them the previous turn. You may only target things which you can currently see, and if you cannot see them, you cannot take an action targeting them.

When a Deity has a unit take an action, She channels power through the unit. This will almost always give action dice to the action on a one to one basis – one power adds one die. The maximum which she can channel through the unit is the unit’s power rating. Every type of action has a minimum power cost which must be spent by every unit undertaking the action. If this cost exceeds the unit’s power rating, it can’t possibly take the action. Even if only the bare minimum power cost is spent, you gain as many action dice as you spent in power.

Some actions have an additional power cost. This additional power must be spent to use the ability, but does not count against the power rating limit, and does not translate into action dice.

Actions are uniquely identified by their type and their target, along with the player performing them. If multiple units belonging to the same player perform the same action on the same target, those actions (and, more importantly, their action dice) are merged into a single action. Thus, if five followers attempt to attack the same opponent’s units in the same region, and each spends one power (for a total of 5 action dice), it becomes a single action with 5 action dice, rather than 5 different actions of 1 action die each.

Actions have locations corresponding to their targets. This helps indicate where they are visible from. Some types of actions can be performed across borders, from one region to an adjacent one, but are still “seen” in the same region as their target and even combine with other friendly actions of the same type from other regions to the same target. Other types of actions have their locations interpreted in a special matter; this is indicated in their descriptions.

Many actions count as movement. Movement doesn’t actually happen until after non-movement actions are resolved. For example, if the a moving unit’s present region is attacked, it might be killed before it ever moves. Movement actions only combine if they are from the same region, to the same region, using the same action type.

Types of Actions


Description: Attempts to convert unclaimed population to your side and mobilize them to your cause.

Power Cost: 1

Target: All unconverted population in this or adjacent region (current population minus number of followers of all deities in the region). Note: Potentially contested resource. Note: You may not know how many, if any at all, of the population is unconverted. So long as you cannot see as many followers in the region as population, you may assume that some are unconverted and attempt the action.

Effect: Creates one follower in the target region for every 2 successes (or 3 successes in cities), up to the number of unclaimed population. Be sure to name this new unit!


Description: Unit commits suicide

Power Cost: 1

Target: Self. Note: Can only be performed by followers and devotees.

Effect: The unit is destroyed at the end of the turn. No roll is required. The region gains the Death affinity for the next 4 turns. If any actions or Interventions causes the death of any unit in this region prior to the end of turn, suiciding units are the first destroyed.


Description: Attempts to create or enhance a friendly sacred site.

Power Cost: 1

Target: All unclaimed ley energy in this region (region’s ley energy minus the combined power rating of all sacred sites in the region). Note: Potentially contested resource. Note: You may not know how many, if any at all, of the ley energy is unclaimed. So long as you cannot confirm that it is all claimed, you may assume that some are unconverted and attempt the action.

Effect: If no friendly sacred site exists in zone, creates a sacred site with 1 power rating for every 2 successes. If a friendly sacred site does exist in the zone, adds two it one power rating to it for every 2 successes. The maximum power rating you can create/add is equal to the amount of unclaimed ley energy.[/spoiler]


Description: Attempts to destroy enemy units

Power Cost: 1

Target: All units belonging to a specific opponent in this or an adjacent region. You must be able to see at least one of these units, but need not be able to see all.

Effect: For every two successes, destroys one unit in target zone belonging to target opponent, in order of increasing power rating. If it matters which of two units of the same power rating dies and which lives, flip a coin to determine. Note: The attack action entitles the targets to a defense roll. Every two successes from that defense roll reduces the successes of the attack action by one. Note: Instead of being destroyed, sacred sites with a power rating of more than one have their power ratings reduced by one. Note: If the attack action destroys a Devotee unit, the region gains the death affinity for 1 year (4 turns). Note: Attack actions launched from or targetting a plains region gain a +1 bonus.


Description: Attempts to destroy enemy followers or population

Power Cost: 1

Target: Unclaimed population OR opponent’s followers in this or an adjacent region. In the latter case, you must be able to see at least one of these followers, but need not be able to see them all. Note: Unclaimed population is a potentially contested resource.

Effect: If targeting followers, every 2 successes destroys a single follower unit AND one population (not contested). Note: Attacking followers entitles that player’s units in that region to a defense roll, which reduces your successes by one for every 2 successes. If instead targeting unclaimed population, every two successes destroys one population. Note: If this action succeeds in destroying even one population, regardless of whether it targeted followers or unclaimed population, the region gains the death affinity for the next 4 turns. Note: Slaughter actions targetting or launched from plains regions gain a +1 bonus.


Description: The unit attempts to hide itself, an ally, or an action from enemy sight.

Power Cost: 1

Target: Self, or friendly unit in the region using the Hide action on itself, or an action of yours located in this region.

Effect: Each success makes the target’s range from every viewer increase by 1 for visibility purposes. Note: Regardless of action dice, this action always counts as having 0 action dice for purposes of visibility.


Description: The unit improves local ability to see enemy forces and activites.

Power Cost: 1

Target: Current region

Effect: For every success, actions and opposing units count as 1 closer to friendly units in the target region, for purposes of those unit’s ability to see them.


Description: Attempts to move friendly population across local border


Power Cost: 1

Target: Spare population capacity of adjacent region (only followers may do this), or the migrate action of a friendly follower who’s in this region, or a friendly migrate action into this region. In the latter two cases, combine this action with the targeted action.

Effect: Transfer one population and one follower to the region with the targeted population capacity for every success. Note: Two successes required per population and follower to move into or out of mountains. Note: Only one follower and population may move for each follower that took part in this action and which survives the turn. Note: You may specify a maximum number of population and followers you wish to move; these numbers must be equal.


Description: Attempts to increase the population of a local or neighboring region

Target: Spare population capacity of this or adjacent region (follower only), or a Multiply action being performed by a friendly follower in this region, or a friendly multiply action being performed by a friendly follower into this region. In the latter case, merge this action with the targeted action. Note: Population capacity is a potentially contested resource.

Effect: For every 2 successes, adds one to the population in the target’s region. Note: No more than 1 population can be created for every follower who took part in this action.


Description: Awes and inspires (or intimidates and terrifies) local followers to greater deeds

Power Cost: 2

Target: Action in this region being performed by a friendly follower.

Effect: For every success, add 4 action dice to target action. Note: May not add more than 4 dice per follower performing target action. Note: Inspire actions get resolved before any other so as to allow resulting dice to benefit the target.


Description: Attempts to move unit from present region to neighboring one

Power Cost: 2

Target: Adjacent Region

Effect: If one or more successes are scored, the unit moves into the target region. Note: Moving into or out of a mountain region requires 2 successes.

Cross Over

Description: Attempt to travel between outer sanctum and mortal world


Power Cost: 2

Target: If in an outer sanctum, target any region in the mortal world. If in the mortal world, target any outer sanctum. Note: Cannot be performed in inner sanctums. Note: If an opponent’s outer sanctum is targeted, the action occurs there and a -1 penalty applies.

Additional Power Cost: If target and current region share an affinity, 5 energy. If they do not, 10 energy.

Effect: For every 2 successes, a unit is moved to the target region, with priority given to the least powerful units.


Description: Attempts to create a Devotee

Power Cost: 3

Additional Power Cost: 5

Target: Friendly follower in region.

Effect: If 3 or more successes are gained, creates a Devotee in this region. Be sure to name this unit!


Description: Attempts to rapidly move anywhere within the mortal world


Power Cost: 3

Target: Choose a path through any number of regions, with the current region being the start and each subsequent step on the path being adjacent to the last. That path is the target.

Effect: Moves 1 region along the path for every success. Note: 2 successes are required to move into or out of mountains. Note: The unit is visible from every region it passes into, out of, or through, and the action is visible from those same regions.


Description: Travels directly between any two regions in the mortal world


Power Cost: 4

Target: Any region in the mortal world. Note: May only be performed in mortal world.

Effect: If the action gets as many successes as the distance between origin and target, move the unit to the target. Otherwise, the unit does not move.

Create Divine Agent

Description: Creates (or reconstitutes) a divine agent.

Power Cost: 4

Target: Your Inner or Outer Sanctum. Note: May only be used while in your sanctums.

Effect: If 3 successes are garnered, creates a new divine agent (or revives an old one) in the target region. If it’s a new unit, be sure to name it!

Create Greater Agent

Description: Creates (or reconstitutes) a greater divine agent.

Power Cost: 5

Target: None. Note: May only be used while in your inner sanctum.

Effect: If 4 successes are garnered, creates a new greater agent (or revives an old one) in your inner sanctum. If it’s a new unit, be sure to name it!

2009-04-19, 01:56 PM
Player's Guide

Divine Intervention

Divine Intervention mechanics

Short of wading into the mortal world personally, the most direct way a deity can influence the world is by way of Divine Intervention.

A Divine Intervention is a lot like an action. It costs power to use, has a certain number of action dice, has a specific target, can be seen in its target region, and usually mimics a type of action. However, it is not an action. It gains neither bonuses nor penalties normally applied to actions, cannot combine with other actions, and does not count as a deity’s action for the turn. The only dice bonus a Divine Intervention will ever gain is a +1 if the target’s region (or target region) has one of the deity’s affinities.

A deity can perform a Divine Intervention on any valid targets in the region she occupies (possibly including the region itself). Additionally, if She is in Her outer sanctum, She may target anything She can see in the mortal world, so long as it is a valid target for the ability She uses.

A deity can perform a Divine Intervention so long as she has ranks in the appropriate divine ability. (For clarification purposes, a Divine Intervention is a specific use of a divine ability.) Unlike actions, which any unit of the appropriate power rating knows how to use, it is quite possible for a deity to not (yet) know how to use a divine ability.

A deity starts off with no ranks in any divine ability. However She may gain one rank in an ability of Her choice every turn, and even use that new rank in the same turn She gains it. This rank may be in an ability she already has ranks in, or may be the first rank of a new ability.

The first rank in an ability grants the deity the ability to use it, albeit with limitations. A one-rank ability can only be used once per turn, and can only have one action die. As ranks are added, these limitations ease. Two-rank abilities can be used twice a turn with up to two action dice for each Intervention, three rank abilities thrice a turn with up to three action dice per Intervention, and so on. At most five action dice can be used per Intervention, but there is no cap to the number of times you can use a divine ability per turn save your ranks in it, the practical limitations of your power pool, and the number of potential targets. Some divine abilities use a flat power rate instead of action dice; in these cases, ranks still allow more uses, but don’t limit the power of each use of the ability. Unlike with actions, repeated applications of the same divine ability on the same target in the same turn are not allowed.

List of Divine Abilities

Divine Assistance (Action)

Many divine abilities simply supplement the actions of friendly units. The deity can supplement even her own action with these abilities. When a unit’s action is supplemented, the action dice of the divine intervention are added to those of the unit’s action. Supplementing an action costs two power per action die, and no unit can be supplemented with more action dice than its power rating.

All of these abilities take the form of the Divine Assistance (Action). Though only one entry on the divine abilities list, it is actually a broad range of separate abilities. For example, Divine Assistance (Convert) and Divine Assistance (Build) are completely separate abilities. They will have different ranks which will have been bought separately, and the use of one won’t count against the other’s uses per turn.

Every action type save Suicide has a corresponding divine ability.

Divine Assistance(Defense)

Description: Channels spare power to enhance the defense of your units.

Target: A friendly defense roll. Note: Blessed Defense is automaticly in reaction to effects which trigger defense rolls and is not declared in your actions.

Effect: Spare power left in your power pool after your actions is added to your units’ defense rolls on a 1 power point to 1 defense die basis. Note: You can add no more than one defense die to each defense roll per rank in Blessed Defense, and you can supplement no more than one defense roll per rank. Note: Uses and power are potentially contested and follow the rules for contested resources, with priority given to the defense rolls which are already largest.

Deus ex Machina (Action)

Some abilities mimic actions. These cost three power per action die, and cannot be performed if any of your units is performing the same action on the same target. (Otherwise it would be supplementing.) Any additional power cost must also be paid, but the minimum power cost need not be.

As with Divine Assistance, the various Deus ex Machina abilities are distinct. Deus ex Machina (build) is a different ability than Dues ex Machina (convert). Their ranks are bought separately, and the use of one doesn’t count against the other’s uses per turn. Divine Interventions of the Deus ex Machina type are very much like actions occurring in the target’s region (or target region).

There are Deus ex Machina abilities for Attack, Slaughter, Convert, Elevate, Build, Sight, Hide. Most are resolved exactly as their corresponding action types. It should be noted in particular that Deus ex Machina(hide) always counts as having 0 action dice for purposes of being seen, just like the Hide action. However, the first success of Deus ex Machina (sight) only allows the deity to see from the target region (even without units in it), and only successes after the first increase vision.


Description: Amplifies the effects of a recent death of a Devotee, causing his message and works to energize people and echo beyond the grave. Mechanically, this is represented by temporarily bringing the devotee back to life, but in actuality he remains dead.

Target: A devotee of yours who died last turn.

Power Cost: 5 + 1 per subsequent use of Martyr.

Effect: Revives the devotee, who may immediately act. The devotee dies again at the end of the turn, but this second (or third, or fourth) death does not cause the death affinity. Martyr may be used on him again in subsequent turns, but doing so costs an extra power each turn, and you cannot use martyr consecutively on the same devotee more times than you have ranks in Martyr. Note: Units brought back with the martyr ability cannot be targeted by opponents.


Description: Brings a dead devotee back to life.

Target: A friendly devotee who was destroyed last turn and has not had the martyr ability used on it.

Power Cost: 15 power.

Effect: Revives the devotee, who may immediately act. The death affinity created by the devotee’s last death ceases to apply at the end of the turn. Note: Units brought back with the Resurrection ability cannot be targeted by opponents in the turn they are resurrected.


Description: Consider a known action or unit in more detail.

Power Cost: 1

Target: An opponent’s unit or action which you can see.

Effect: If an action was targeted, you can now see every unit that performed that action. If a unit was targeted, you can see the unit plus any action it performs this turn.

2009-04-19, 02:01 PM
Referee's Guide


The first thing a referee needs to know is that he has virtually no leeway in the game mechanics. None. Zero. There are no decisions for him to make while the game is ongoing; his sole purpose is to provide a cutout so that actions can be resolved while still allowing the players to remain ignorant of what their units cannot see. The only leeway the referee does have as far as mechanics are concerned is in setup. Though there are rules for setting up a random map, following them is optional, and the referee may create the map to his taste and arbitrarily decide (rather than randomly determine) the starting season. However, a system for random setup for four players is provided and, so far as mechanics are concerned, the referee could be replaced by a computer.

This does not mean that the referee is an automaton, though. The referee also has the non-mechanics task of serving as editor for the various narratives written by the players, and this cannot be algorithmized. Also, the referee has the responsibility of organizing the players into a game, retaining them, dealing with player absences, and explaining the rules to them.


If you consciously design the map and/or choose the season, you should do so before the players choose their affinities. If you randomly determine either, you may do so before or after the players choose their affinities. You may choose to reveal the map to players before they choose affinities or after, but it is advisable to not reveal the season until after they have chosen.

Some guidelines for players setting up maps:

Try to have roughly the same number of mountains, forests, plains, and cities, as having fewer of one penalizes players who take that affinity and having more penalizes players who don’t. If you don’t wish to keep these roughly in balance, inform players of this before they choose affinities.

Try to have roughly five mortal-world regions for each player for a medium-length game, three mortal regions per player for a shorter game, or seven regions per player for a longer game. Note that more players make for a longer game regardless of world size. Try to have each region connect to at least two other regions, and no region connect to more than six.

The following rules allow random setup for a four player game.

The map will have five mountains, five forests, five plains, and four cities, plus the eight sanctums. Identify one mountain, one forest, one plains, and one city as having the death affinity for the first year. Then randomly array them in a hexagonal pattern, three on the edge (meaning row 1 has 3, row 2 had 4, row 3 has 5, row 4 has 4, row 5 has 3). (Note: Blatant rip-off of Settlers of Catan.)

Flip a coin twice to determine the starting season. 2 heads is winter, a head then a tail is spring, two tails summer, and a tail and a head is autumn.

Dice Rolls

The core mechanic for dice rolls is to be found in the player’s guide. However, a few clarifications need to be made and the rules for contested resources have been relegated to here.

First, while actions may combine, this does not make the action dice of one unit equal to the action dice of others. Divine Agents, Greater Agents, and Deities gain bonuses to their die rolls greater than those they provide to their comrades. Thus it is possible to have an action with 4 dice from a Greater agent (which get a +2 bonus), 2 dice from a Devotee (which a +1 bonus from the greater agent’s presence), and 3 dice from divine intervention (which, without an affinity, get no bonus). Either roll these dice separately, or use different-colored dice.

When things are resolved

First, make all rolls. Note that Inspire actions gain precedence over others. Then resolve the effects of non-movement action in any order. Note that these effects cannot change the rolls (and effects) of other actions, with the sole exception of the Inspire action. Finally, apply the effects of movement.

As an example, consider the following sets of actions. Player 1 has a Devotee trek from Region A to Region B, and two followers migrate from Region A to Region B. Player 2 attacks Player 1 in Region A, and also has a follower migrate to Region B. All the actions (with the attacks killing all the followers and the devotee) are successful and Player 1’s followers edge out Player 2’s and claim all of the limited population capacity of Region B.

As both migrate and trek are movement, they are resolved after the attack. The attack kills the followers and the devotee, applying the death affinity to Region A. However, as the rolls have already been made, Player 2 cannot move followers into Region B, because the population capacity is claimed by Player 1’s (now dead) followers. Since none of Player 1’s followers survive the turn, though, under the rules of Migrate no followers are population are moved. However, the trek action rules do not require the devotee survive, and so the devotee (his corpse, rather) moves to Region B. While corpses aren’t usually tracked, this information is of particular importance if the Player 1 wishes to use the Martyr or Resurrection abilities on the Devotee next turn.[/spoiler]

Contested Resources

Resources are contested when different actions attempt to grab a limited supply. The contestable resources are unclaimed population, unclaimed population capacity, and ley energy.

If the successes don’t warrant claiming more resources than exist, everything is fine; proceed as normal.

Otherwise, the action with the most successes (action 1) claims resources, losing the successes required to claim those resources, until it has the same number or fewer then the action with the next fewer successes (action 2). Action 2 claims a resource, and they alternate until both have the same number or fewer than the next action on the list (action 3), and so forth. If two or more actions have the same number of successes, roll a die to determine which has priority for the entire process. Continue until there is no more of the resource to claim.

Example: Players 1, 2, 3, and 4 each attempt to convert followers in a city. There are 9 unclaimed population, and each requires 3 successes to convert. Player 1 rolls 7 successes, player 2 gets 10, player 3 gets 7, and player 4 gets 15. Normally, this would net a total of 12 followers – more than the unclaimed population. Players 1 and 3 are tied, so a die is rolled and player 3 gets priority. Player 4 has the most and successes and gets one follower at the cost of three successes. He now has 12 successes left, more than anyone else, so he gets a second follower. He now has 9 left, which is fewer than player 2, and so player 2 gets the next one and now has 7 left. Player 4 gets the next follower and now has 6 left. At this point, players 1, 2, and 3 are tied at 7 successes. However, players 1 and 3 have priority over 2 by virtue of player 2 having gotten a follower before them, and player 3 has priority over player 1 by virtue of the tie-breaking roll. Player 3 gets a follower, then player 1, then player 2, then player four again, then player 3. At this point, the capacity has been fully taken up and the remaining successes are discarded. Player 1 has gotten 1 follower, player 2 has gotten 2, player 3 has gotten 2, and player 4 has gotten 4.

A player can always see an action which contests his own for resources, even if there were enough resources to go around.

Divine Assistance (Defense) uses a similar system for determining which rolls benefit from the ability. First, uses are handed out with the largest defense rolls having priority (roll to break ties). Then, use the algorithm above substituting each defense candidate roll’s defense dice for the successes and the deity’s remaining power pool as the contested resource. Bear in mind that a defense roll can’t garner more dice from Divine Assistance(Defense) than the deity has divine ranks. (It also can’t more than double its dice, but that won’t be an issue if there’s not enough power to go around.) The defense dice are only “spent” to buy the Divine Assistance power within the scope of this algorithm; they’re still rolled in their respective defense rolls, even if they were used to “buy” Divine Assistance.

2009-04-19, 04:06 PM
And that's it, posts are finally up. Only took 2.25 hours. Are the forums getting DoSed or something?

2009-04-20, 11:14 PM
One boot to make sure this didn't get lost in the forum troubles.

2009-04-20, 11:38 PM
Do you have this compiled anywhere in a pdf or a doc format for ease of reading?


2009-04-21, 08:30 AM
I agree with ErrantX. Compile it. It's tedious to go through so many spoiler buttons. The way you have the information spread out through so many of them is annoying, you might try re-grouping them.

Beyond that, I like what I see. I've always thought that playing as a Deity would be more resource management than a standard RPG. The "Deities and DemiGods" book was sadly unbalanced as a game supplement for D&D. Even better, this system is generic enough to use for virtually any gaming world.

I'd like to see more Affinities. Ocean/Coastal, Desert/Tundra, Life/Healing (to balance death), so on and so forth. Of course, adding things like that may just complicate the mechanics. So making sure that they're all ironed out is likely the first priority. I'm more of a fluff DM than a crunch, so hopefully more posters will be able to help you out where I am unable.

2009-04-21, 12:44 PM
Okay, I editted out the spoiler buttons. I thought those would aid navigation, but I guess they did more harm than good.

I also put in the missing defense bonus for mountain regions, tweaked the attack bonus for plains so that it was clear what happened if a non-plains region got pincer-attacked from one plains region and one non-plains region, made Sacred Sites harder to kill, and fixed a lot of word choices.

2009-04-21, 04:00 PM
Working on .pdf conversion should be up in 30 mins

2009-04-21, 04:08 PM
That was faster than I thought, here's the link: