Charsiew Space Reads ‘Mere Gods’
(Note: The image above is a proofreading copy, for our editing and revision purposes. That’s not the final version of ‘Mere Gods’!)
Charsiew Space (https://charsiewspace.com/) was kind enough to read and review an early-access version of our upcoming RPG, ‘Mere Gods’! With their permission, we’ve shared their review here on our website. Thanks for reading, and your review, Charsiew Space-friend! 😀
(review originally posted at: https://www.facebook.com/charsiewspace/posts/2498199637131770?tn=K-R )
AN EARLY LOOK AT ‘MERE GODS’, A BRAND-NEW RPG CREATED BY Curious Chimeras:
Your hometown burns, caught in the crossfire between feuding high-gods. Now it’s been marked as a place to be avoided, doomed to wither away and die. Who do you turn to for justice, if the high-gods themselves wounded this land? Does anyone care? No one does, everyone would shake their head in pity, wring their hands helplessly, perhaps voice their outrage (quietly, shhh, don’t let the gods hear), but surely, nothing can be done! Move on, there’s fortunes to be had, riches to be won!
You care, of course, you whose blood and faith are knitted with the land where you came. It is home, truly. And it is up to you, to determine what can be done for it.
MERE GODS is simply a delight to read. It is at once an adventure handbook, a collection of folktales, and a thesis of the author’s thoughts. The players’ party would return home to find it in shambles and disarray. All who could flee has fled, the remainder forced into servitude, confined in compounds, inflicted with silence. The oppressive villain is a bureaucrat-god: from his point of view he is merely doing his job as best he can, in the service of his boss, and a teensy bit of his own ambition. Orders have to be followed, no? Yet, the collective thoughtlessness of this celestial institution has created suffering far and wide, to enforce a tiny instance of order. It wouldn’t remind you of anything that has happened here in the mortal world, would it?
The text is also written deliberately to deliver an oral cadence, so it feels as though you are listening a storyteller speak, transmitting their knowledge to all who would lend a ear. The book has a beginning, but not an ending. Rather, it collects tales about each of the characters and places you might encounter – just enough to tell you their motivations and the circumstances you find them in – then encourage the party to discover, to tell each other what happens next, so each party would find themselves having their own version of the story. Indeed, each member of a party may end up with a version of the tale they are living, and thus is the job of the Chronicler(gamesmaster) to record the “most accurate/agreed upon” version.
Storytelling is at the core of the game’s mechanics. Leave behind stats and modifiers, in MERE GODS, your character bear Truths (a combination of character traits and skills), and suffering (physical or mental) harm erodes their conviction to continue bearing them. Similarly, conflict resolution steers away from attack rolls and armour classes. Instead, three themes are laid out to resolve any meaningful action a player might take: ‘Mud’ symbolises passionate, violent choices; ‘Bamboo’ signifies guile, self-interest, crafty means to an end; ‘Flowers’ represent an exercise of compassion, wisdom, or transcendence. Dice rolls determine what themes are available for the player to choose from, and the player would attempt to incorporate the chosen theme when narrating their action and its outcome. Through this negotiation of available themes, and along with it, the shifting of moods, the party along with their Chronicler build for themselves their unique MERE GODS adventure.
The one thing that excites me most about MERE GODS is the prospect of playing as a “Spirit”. When choosing player characters, one may be “Mortal” humans, cast as wanderers who left their home and has now returned, or be “Spirits”. They are the little gods that once bless and watch over the land, lowest of the low on the celestial totem pole, but has now managed to evade the grasp of the villainous high-god so far. They would provide a different style of play, as they are immortal, incorporeal, and might bear values mortals cannot understand, so the interactions within the party should be much more fun with a mix of Humans and Spirits.
MERE GODS will be available in both digital pdf format and physical softcover book from the 7th of December 2019, and its creators will be showcasing it at their booth during Singapore Comic Con – SGCC. ✨Check out their website [www.curiouschimeras.com] or follow Curious Chimeras for updates!✨