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Getting Started

Brimstone is a game about Heroes fighting for survival in a ruined world. This page will introduce you to the world and show you how to create a Hero for the game, enough to get you started in play.

Everything is Gone

That’s right. Your phone, your car, your daily stop at your favorite place for coffee, it is all gone. That’s all she wrote for the world of man. Everything we had built was burned to the ground in a matter of days when the Dragons came. No one knows what hole they crawled out of, or has any idea where they came from. In the end we only knew that they were more than a match for us.

The world is now a place full of ash, the one thing the Dragons left the few that remained. From that point on humanity has survived but never flourished, living in a twilight of hope. Any attempt to rebuild cities larger than meager townships is met with swift destruction, usually from the fire of those cursed beasts. People toil for their daily bread but never stop dreaming of the golden age now long gone.

Forces of the Ruined World

While the Dragons are the most amazing spectacle in the ruined world, they aren't the only new force to shape it. You also won’t hear people saying Dragon often, in general they are just called the Fire. You are also going to encounter the Weird, the other power in the ruined world. These two forces are at the end of a spectrum where you as a human are smack in the middle, see below.

The Forces are in white: Fire and Weird. Each is an absolute, an unbending power with a single purpose. Fire destroys and ruins, Weird transforms and obscures. Neither of these forces can exist directly in our world, but each has an embodiment that can. Fire has Dragons and Weird has Demons, we call these agents of Fire and Weird respectively.

Humans and other parts of the world can be affected by a force, charged with it. Heroes often are responsible for charging themselves, others, or things around them with a force. When that happens we call that an Aspect of the Force and the things in yellow above come into play. The Aspect of Fire is called Fervor, when something is charged with Fire it has Fervor as an aspect. Fervor always implies destruction, in addition to any other imbued qualities. The Aspect of Weird is Wonder, when something is charged with Weird it has Wonder as an aspect. Wonder always implies confusion, in addition to any other imbued qualities. Aspects of Fervor and Wonder usually carry specific rules as well.

Outside all these dangerous outer forces, the force of Destiny is embraced by the hero to change the world as they see it. Destiny is an inner force, something that lives inside the hero. You could almost say that without it they would not be heroes at all, but sheep instead. The most direct measure of Destiny in the game is the Destiny track of each hero, which records how their future is looking at any one moment. Eventually when that is filled, they meet a Crisis that will change them for better or worse.

Chips Measure Forces, Tokens Measure Status

There are four types of Chips in the game. These are color/letter coded to indicate their type. A Chip means nothing in the fiction except when it is drawn from Fate (a bag that holds chips). When your Hero takes interesting or risky action, they will draw from Fate. The type of Chip drawn will dictate how things went for them in their undertaking. Here are the types of Chips:

  • Ash: When you draw Ash, the force of Fire dominates the outcome and things went badly.
  • Dream: When you draw Dream, the force of Weird dominates the outcome and things went oddly.
  • Glory: When you draw Glory, the force of Destiny dominates the outcome and things went well.
  • Rubble: When you draw Rubble, something got in the way and things did not go at all.

Tokens TODO.

Hero Types

At the core, there are four character Types you can choose from and three variants of each. You choose to play a Fighter, a Leader, an Artisan, or a Maven. The first three want to do something about the ruin of the world, and the last simply wants to improve their fit into it.

  • Fighters want to change the world by fighting back the forces that destroy and ruin it. They seek Victory.
  • Leaders want to lead humanity back into an age where the glory of society shines once more. They seek Society.
  • Artisans want to shape the world into their vision, creating their art to change the world. They seek Art.
  • Mavens want to improve themselves, securing their place in the ruined world of today. They seek Security.

You can’t assume that Mavens are against the first three types, but instead usually they see them as a tool to be used in their own schemes. Generally they are smart enough to know that real change is unlikely as Fighters, Leaders, and Artisans generally fail at some point. That means they can use them as a tool and just know in the end they merely served their purpose.

New Legends of the Ruined World

This is a game about making stories. Not romance comedy love stories, but epic tales of battle and hardship. It’s not that you can’t have love or comedy. You just need to remember that such matters will ride on a backbone of blood, sweat, and tears. In this game you’ll either take on the role of the Devil or a Hero. The Devil runs the world about the Heroes, and weaves a world full of darkness and wonder. There is only one Devil in the game (thankfully!) and two or more heroes. If you were counting, you’ll need three players or more to play: one for the Devil and two for Heroes. Beyond that, the game will allow as many as you think you can handle, though never more than thirteen. You are playing Heroes if you aren't playing the Devil. You aren't going to sit down to a game of Brimstone and tell the tale of some lowly farmer trying to manage his field from year to year. If you try to play a lowly farmer they won’t be a one for long, because they have the potential to become something special - a Legend.

Each player that is taking on the role of Hero needs to pick a card from the deck of Twelve Legends. This card gives your Hero a role in the game. The cards have rules on them, but don’t worry about that now. You just need to read the description in order to see if it is the kind of Hero you might want to play. Here are the 12 Legends listed by their Rank.

    • The maverick is a fighter that doesn't rely on strength or speed, but uses human ingenuity to succeed. You play a maverick if you want to show the forces of the world man can beat them without help.
  • II - Pioneer
    • The pioneer is a leader that relies only on themselves and dreams big enough to get everyone’s attention. You play a pioneer to lead men into a brave new world where motivation equals success.
  • III - Engineer
    • The engineer is an artisan that takes what is left of scrap copper and wire, building analog circuits from the ancient times. You play an engineer return the glory of human technology to the world.
  • IV - Merchant
    • The merchant is a maven that doesn't dream of changing the world, just thriving in it by smart buying and selling of goods. You play a merchant to earn more financial success and secure your future in the ruined world.
    • The champion is a fighter that has honed their body to a fine edge, embracing strength and speed to become a better warrior. You play a champion to beat back the forces of the world with pure might. They have an affinity for Fervor, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • VI - Luminary
    • The luminary is a leader and a paragon of speed and strength, but does not embrace war. Instead they inspire others to action through their amazing deeds. You play a luminary to lead others into a new world of your vision. They have an affinity for Fervor, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • VII - Smith
    • The smith is an artisan that has honed their body into a heart of a forge, working metal and stone to force their vision onto the world. You play a smith to build a new beautiful world of castles and keeps like no one has ever seen. They have an affinity for Fervor, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • VIII - Outlaw
    • The outlaw is a maven and isn't a criminal per say, but an expert that has found something they love in the ruined world. You play an outlaw to further hone those skills and become a paragon in the ruined world. They have an affinity for Fervor, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • IX - Wizard
    • The wizard is a fighter that has opened their mind to the Weird, embracing the enhanced mental powers to become a formidable opponent. You play a wizard to control the forces of the world through the wonder of a new age. They have an affinity for Wonder, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • X - Tycoon
    • The tycoon is a leader that has worked with the forces of Weird in the world to earn a place above men, exploiting Wonder for power and profit. You play a tycoon to create a new world of men where you can stand on top. They have an affinity for Wonder, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • XI - Enchanter
    • The enchanter is an artisan that has not just talked with demons, they have learned from them. They use Wonder to enhance and amaze. You play an enchanter to create a new world of Wonder the likes of which has never been known. They have an affinity for Wonder, and can embrace it to empower themselves.
  • XII - Oracle
    • The oracle is a maven that can’t see all futures, but they can get a glimpse of what is coming through the veil of the Wonder. You play an oracle to scheme and conspire to build a better future for yourself in the ruined world. They have an affinity for Wonder, and can embrace it to empower themselves.

Claiming your Legend

For the players playing Heroes, start with the oldest and go around the table so that everyone has a turn. When your turn comes up, take a Legend of your choice from the deck of Twelve for your own. This is the Legend of the Hero you will play. Yes, this means that if your friend takes Champion then you cannot. No two players can take the same Legend in a game of Brimstone.

Now that you have taken a Legend for your Hero, you must claim it. It isn't enough to take Engineer, name your Hero, and start playing. You need to make the Legend your own, claiming it for yourself. Each Legend is just a vague idea of who your Hero is and lacks real substance. You need to reach within yourself and add that substance to the Hero. Lets go over the method step by step. All you will need for this is an index card and a pen or pencil.

  1. Create a Concept for your Hero that fits their Legend.
    • If you took the Legend: Champion, perhaps you could create the Concept: “The undefeated Hero of the north.” You are allowed a wide latitude to create something that fits your vision here. You must always include the word Hero in your Concept.
    • You can look at the Concept of your Hero somewhat like a summary of their story and who they are. If you are stuck, try and imagine their life before they realized their Legend and talk about it with the other players.
    • One approach is to work in reverse and read your Legend, then think about what made them that way. What made the Maverick want to change the world with ingenuity powered victory? Those reasons often lead into Concepts.
  2. Choose a simple one word Name for your Hero.
    • Don’t worry about last names or such details right now, but think about what their friends call them. The Devil may have ideas on what is acceptable here, so consult with them.
    • Names say a lot about your Hero since we have established very little about them so far. To increase the descriptive power, feel free to add meaningful descriptions in the format of: the <something> of <somewhere>. For example, the scourge of Carpathia works as a description.
  3. Record the full Title of your Hero on the index card.
    • Just like this: <rank>: <name>, <legend>, <concept>. For example: IV: Samuel, Merchant, The Savvy wandering Hero of the golden valley. You can find the rank listed on the Legend you chose. It is the roman numeral.
    • The Title is a one line mechanical summary for the Devil's benefit, don't worry about it too much.
    • Leave the rest of the title line blank, that is an important place later to track status.
  4. Create one to three Qualities for your Hero.
    • These are short phrases that describe their qualities. “A heart of gold”, “Strength of Olympus”, or “Never loses a gamble” are all great Qualities. Negative qualities that still give your Hero advantage are fine too: “Could steal from his own Mother” works fine.
    • These should be applicable in a broad range of circumstances, keep that in mind. “Great shot at long range” is bad, “Great Shot” is perfect.
    • There should however be some kind of condition in which they won't work. “Best at Everything” is a horrible quality because it doesn't say anything interesting about the Hero. Just using a single broad scope works: “Lucky” is bad, “Lucky in Love” is awesome.
  5. Once you have all created Heroes using the first four steps, you have to nominate Advocates.
    • Find the player with the Hero of lowest rank and start with them, going around the table so everyone has a turn. When it is your turn, you nominate another player's Hero to be your Hero's Advocate. This means they hold your Hero in high regard. Talk to that player about what they think their Hero really feels toward yours and record a summary of that. Then ask them about what happened between them that made their hero into an Advocate. Record a summary of that too.

After all this is done, The Devil creates a Destiny Track for your Hero on their record sheet. This is just seven spots plus two for each Quality beyond one you took for your Hero. Something like this: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ].

Sheep and Flocks

brimstone/getting_started.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/17 00:07 by JasonP