(Blood and Parchment: Revised) Trying This Playtest Thing Again

It's been a while fellow Storygamers! But I'm back, and I'd love to get your thoughts and assistance with a new side project of mine: Blood and Parchment. This has been crossposted on RPGnet (where I'm also recruiting willing Sorcerers), but I'd love to get some of you folks in the mix as well.

So the last playtest for Blood and Parchment, my Overlordesque game of...sorcerous Overlords fell apart due to scheduling issues and a player dropping out due to (understandable) personal issues. Having taken into account the feedback I received from the first playtest and the experience that I acquired GMing it for the first time, I've made a number of adjustments to the rules and to character generation and am now ready to attempt Blood and Parchment: The Playtesting anew.

Harken, would-be Sorcerous overlords! Ready your legions of foul minions and your tomes of Eldritch Lore! Sharpen the spikes to your flame-belching pain pits, and know that the power of flesh and sorcerery will always triumph over the steel and virtue of hero(ine)s. This thread will be for Sorcerer, Tower, Minion, and Ally creation, Hinterlands creation, and feedback on the basic rules and character creation process. Once I get at least 3 willing sorcerers we'll decide on a date for the first playtest, which will be held via Skype. My availability is mostly in the evening (9pm ESTor so) Saturday and Sunday (and sometimes Friday and Monday, but not reliably).

With that in mind, here are the links to the [URL="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97VUsWnBKEtWjFDbmtUdUlnWUE/view?usp=sharing"]Sorcerer Creation Document[/URL] and the [URL="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B97VUsWnBKEtcEtsUUUtNkQwbHM/view?usp=sharing"]General Rules Document[/URL].

Significant changes to the rules thus far:

[*]A Tailwinds-style Twist mechanic that triggers when characters tie on opposed rolls. Great for creating catastrophies when a wizard's duel creates a massive conflagaration or a battle between two giant minions causes the collapse of the castle that they're brawling in or sets a village on fire godzilla-style.
[*]Vastly expanded and cleaned up lists of Spells, Rituals, and Adaptations. Including things like minions that can actually breed (just beware mutations; they're nasty), a spell that lets you turn into a giant snake (against all good sense), and a ritual that lets you capture someone's immortal soul in a gem.
[*]Cleaned up Minion rules that now use a template style system. Each minion (or linked group of minions) gets a number of Instincts, Adaptations, and Attributes based on it's type and cost 1 Spawning point. Simpler, less fiddly, and quicker to create awesome and disgusting servitors! The special abilities for each type of minion are also more evocative and interesting than "just more +s".
[*]A list of common prices for what Sorcerers who are inclined to deal civilly with various settlements instead of just pillaging and extorting might be able to buy with Riches.
[*]Revised Hinterlands creation rules that allow players to design ruins instead of Communities for a truly post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery style setting.
[*]A section about dealing with objectionable content during play, emphasizing open and honest communication before, during, and after play and the use of an "X Card" to indicate stuff that crosses the line. Important in a game about evil overlords. This advice is also referenced in Hinterlands creation, where people should discuss how much actual villany versus Saturday-Morning He-Man style shennanigans is going to be shown "on screen."
[*]References in character creation to the General Rules, so it's not as hard to find out where Signs of Might, Spells and Rituals, and Adaptations are.

If you're interested, please use the Sorcerer creation rules linked to above to create a Sorcerer and their associated servants and trappings, write a short blurb about them, and then give me any feedback that you can think of regarding character creation or the game in general. As I said, I'm looking to start this playtest once I've gathered 3-5 Sorcerers. Then we'll conduct Hinterlands creation via this thread (or on Skype if we can arrange a time) and move to scheduling a first playtest session from there.

I eagerly await your Sorcerous Overlords/Overladies/Overpersons, and your feedback!


  • Just to reiterate and clarify, I'm not just looking for playtesters here. If you feel so inclined, please take a look over the Sorcerer Creation and General rules and let me know what you think. Specifically:

    1. If the rules seem understandable and useable.
    2. If you think character generation, the system for designing a sorcerer's tower, the system for minions, minion adaptations, and the Phase system feel appropriately "Evil Sorcerous Over(lord, lady, overperson of gender not otherwise specified)y". The game's pitch has been variously described as "Overlord: the tabletop game." and "Playing Saruman or Thulsa Doom: the game". Do you feel as if the rules live up to those assertions?
    3. That Hinterlands creation and the GM principles that are elucidated in the general rules seem appropriate to the game's premise and genre, and that the advice for handling objectionable material included therein is sensitively written and comphrehensive.
    4. That the character creation system creates sorcerers, trappings, and an entorauge of minions, allies, and loved ones that you could see yourself playing and having fun with.
    5. If you believe the need for Riches to bribe minions/allies, secure necesary materials and gear for the sorcerer's army/towers/servants, and feed hangers-on, combined with the Hinterlands system that by its nature creates lots of communities ready to trade with, extort, or plunder, and plenty of ruins with artifacts and secrets to send minions, mercenaries, and allies to recover will encourage sorcerers to engage in classic evil-overlord behavior (conquering, subjugating, a bit of pillaging, etc.)

    Plus any other questions, concerns, and thoughts you might have! I welcome any and all constructive critique and feedback.
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