Demon Hunters RPG Design Briefing #1
Listen up, recruits! You’re facing the imminent collapse of polite society and the loss of everything we hold dear at the hands of gut-busting demons, blood-sucking vampires, and mind-shattering Elder Gods. And right now, the only thing standing in the way of all of that is you, so we need to get through this.
Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors (AKA DH:ACOT) is a full-spectrum tabletop combat simulation (AKA “roleplaying game” or “RPG”) presently being funded through a highly-monitored alternate revenue stream that we’re not going to get into right now (AKA “Kickstarter.”) It’s my job as Primary Simulation Engineer (AKA “lead game designer”) to bring you up to speed on the development and design of this RPG so that if you were somehow in doubt about the veracity of the project’s authenticity and worthiness, all of those doubts will be as nothing in the light of faith and reason. Or at least you’ll have a good sense of what the rules are like.
Why We’re Going This Route
Many of you recruits are familiar with a popular series of training simulators collectively known as “Fate.” If that’s the case for you, much of this may seem familiar. Obviously we’ve tinkered with it a lot because we’ve got a very specific set of goals in mind, notably the training of brand-new fresh-faced Demon Hunters. But Fate, especially the offshoot branches known as Fate Accelerated and Icons Assembled (which isn’t technically Fate but… anyway, close enough), is the glistening god-core at the heart of DH:ACOT.
Our original, Windows XP-based server farms ran a Classic Cortex version of the training simulator but we’ve all moved on from there, like any IT department tries to do. This new roll-out is powered by Fate-like rules because we’ve determined that this training simulator needs to be slick, swift, easy to learn, and fun to master. Several higher-ups and directors and big brains said they wanted to keep those polyhedral dice, so we found a place for those. And we knew we had to make the training simulator accessible to varying degrees of gonzo irreverence, outright horror, and over the top action. So we’re layering all of that on top like a fine glaze.
We’re calling this system variant Faith Corps, because it’s a clever in-joke somebody came up with and there was a vote and I wasn’t involved, so suck it up.
The Core Mechanic
Your training avatar is given ratings from 1 to 10 in various Disciplines of the Brotherhood, from Combat and Covert to Mystic and Tech. In addition, your personality profile ranks your six Approaches toward various objectives in different sized dice, so your Clever Approach might be a six-sided die, while your Forceful Approach might be a ten-sider. With us so far?
When you want your avatar to do anything, you grab an Approach die, roll it, and add the result to the Discipline that makes the most sense for the situation. The poor bastard who’s running the training sim (AKA “Game Master”) also rolls a die and adds it to a number, but in this case the number is a Difficulty from 1 to 10 and the die is the Demon Die. What’s the Demon Die? It’s either an Approach belonging to a bad guy controlled by the Game Master, or it’s based on the general degree of badness that’s influencing everything. Sure, it could be a piece of cake to do something, meaning a low Difficulty, but when the crapola is about to hit the fan in a major way, the GM might grab a big Demon Die to make that 100% crystal clear.
So anyway, whoever rolls the highest wins, more or less. If you fail, bad stuff probably happens, or you succeed with a major cost. If you tie with the Game Master, you succeed but at a somewhat minor cost. If you succeed, then you get what you wanted. If you succeed by 4 points or more, then you kick ass. You’re going to want to kick ass. It’s how things blow up the best.
Because this is a training simulation based on the principles of Fate, it includes a kind of game currency called Faith Points (get it? Agents of Heaven? No? All right, get over it) which let you invoke certain qualities or Aspects attached to people, things, and situations. Aspects include certain conditions, descriptive elements, interesting facts about a thing—basically narrative nuggets that, when invoked, let you affect the outcome of your dice. Faith Points may also be spent to create additional story details within the training simulator (AKA “The Kobyashi Maru Effect”) or activate Stunts possessed by your avatar. Stunts run the gamut from cool tricks your Demon Hunter has acquired as a result of intense training to supernatural powers that come from being bitten by a were-aardvark. Regardless of their nature, they’re generally additional ways to affect the outcome.
So that’s pretty much it. Disciplines, Approaches, Faith Points, Aspects, and Stunts. They all come together to help you practice delivering righteous fury and insane amounts of mega-violence toward supernats, death-hags, time-traveling Hades Drones from the future, and vile demons named Brian.
Wait A Minute, There’s Got To Be More, Like How Does Magic Work
That’s enough for today, recruits! In the next Design Briefing we’re going to talk about the sorts of missions Demon Hunters need to undertake in training, how it is that the Brotherhood of the Celestial Torch includes reformed vampires and ambulatory databases in their number, and what magic is all about. Or at least the parts you’re cleared to know about. Until then…
… WE RIDE!
About the Author
Cam Banks–formerly of the ill-fated Chapter Kappa Four–serves as the Primary Simulation Engineer for the Brotherhood of the Celestial Torch. A danger to himself and others, he has been kept under heavy sedation in a Brotherhood care facility since the unfortunate events of the Lake Wanaka Massacre. During his waking moments, Agent Banks scrawls elaborate training scenarios across the walls of his padded cell, that are later transcribed and distributed to new recruits. His doctors believe this to be an attempt to prevent another tragedy like the one that befell his teammates. He has not stopped screaming since they cut him out of the creature’s belly.