Perish is an island-nation-continent that exists in an endless state of darkness. It is also a megadungeon. There is no real civilization, just a handful of scavenging settlements and a half-dozen domains run by slowly dying, half-mad godlings. The fact that the characters are on Perish means that they have, sometime before level 1, screwed up in an extraordinary way. The main things to do on Perish are finding out how to get off or, if you are particularly ambitious, figuring out how it ended up being such a terrible place. The two tasks may not be completely unrelated.
Denizens of the Land of Perish
Centuries ago, something killed the God of the Sun, which plunged nearly all of Perish into perpetual night. Time has consumed many of the details, but some think one, some, or all of the surviving gods were involved. Whoever committed the crime likely knows where the missing Sun God's soul is, which is necessary to bring light back to the Sun.
As I imagine this, all of the following details are extremely valuable and difficult to find—this is a sort of megadungeon murder mystery, so facts have to be scarce on the ground for this to work.
- Vast, the Verdant Wyrm presides over the Febric Wood. Some say it lured the Sunlit God to the place of his murder with the promise of a gift. Its favored children are the Great Stags and their riders, the Horned Hunters, who prey on the slavering beasts of the Wood.
- Ixion, Envoy of the Many Dead rules the Elysian Demimonde. He claims to serve the innumerable infernal powers of the Underworld, and it is rumored that they compelled him to betray the Sunlit God, his greatest and most beloved ally. His greatest servants are the Asphodel Maidens, who wear red in their hair, and the Knights of Gules, who rot inside their armor.
- Haeme, Princess of the Splendid Dead holds court in the Manse Macabre. She loathes Ixion and his affinity for shambling masses of restless Dead, but her hatred of the God of the Sun and his searing daylight is legendary. Her most powerful servitors are the Sanguine Coterie, who admit only vampires of the purest of bloodlines , and the Midnight Choir, whose choristers can wound with their song.
- Vercingetorix, the Golden Hero reigns from the top of the Tower of Blades. There are those who suspect that only the skill and sword of such a warrior could kill the God of Sunlight, but his Soldiers of Fortunes and Auric Priests believe in nothing but his virtue.
- Elagabulus, Lord of Dusk can be found in the chambers of his father's Solar Palace, where he drafts his plans to reignite the Sun. Surviving histories note that the courier who reported the Sunlit God's death found the Lord already sitting in his father's throne. The Crepuscule Wanderers and the Archivists number his most devoted followers
- Martel, Radiant Envoy of the Moon dwells with her servants in the Lunary Gardens. The cynical note that where the power of the Sun has failed, the Moon hangs steady in the sky, but Perish would be truely lightless her illumination, attenuated as it is. The Knights Nightingale and the Plangent Dreamers attend to her dutifully.
There is a 1 in 6 chance a random wanderer will be waiting for you in a place of safety when you arrive.
- The Scholar of Clabrous is dressed in antiquated finery and wears a crow mask at all times. It rewards with Soul anyone who brings it fresh specimens of the blood, flesh, or bone of any creature, though it favors rare or exotic creatures. No one knows what the Scholar does with these substances, or how it is able to wander as it wishes unharmed.
- Newt is a pallid little boy with great dark eyes and sharp pearly teeth who sells rumors, stories, maps, and ciphers, though he insists all his customers buy them sight unseen. He hates the light of the moon.
- Charles is a spider the size of a large dog with a man's face on its thorax. It lives in a place it calls the Eaves, which shares a border with nearly everywhere. For a fee of Soul, it can lead you on a shortcut through the Eaves to almost anywhere you please, though you may not come out the same way you went in.
- Starlit Witch Imanta wears veils of silver thread and a red crown. She will summon forth loyal servitors from the space between stars in return for Soul, but these beings require a steady supply of yet more Soul to stay in this world
- Sariat the Weaver is wrapped head to toe in pristine white bandages. She will lift curses, purge poisons, mend wounds, and obliterate traumatic memories for a price.
- Rosario the Greatsmith bears a hammer of black stone and his forge burns with ancient flame. He will forge Soul into wondrous weapons and armor, but his prices are astronomical.
And here's how the game is played.
The Primary Rule
When you attempt a task that is difficult or carries grave consequences for failure, roll 2d6+relevant attribute.
- On a 10+, you enjoy the fruits of your success.
- On a 7-9, you succeed partially or pay a cost for achieving your goal.
- On a 6-, you fail, and bad things happen to you.
When creatures in Perish are slain, they leave behind Soul equal in value to their level. Soul is required to recover HP—when you receive healing by any means, whether it be natural or magical, you must expend Soul equal to actually regain the HP. It can be used to level up, as well as acquire equipment, spells, servants, and information, though entities that traffic in Soul are rare and seldom pleasant to deal with.
Gaining a level requires the expenditure of 10*current level Soul. When you gain a level, you gain d6 HP and gain abilities as determined by you class. You may also forgo all other benefits of leveling up to increase an attribute by 1, to a maximum of +1.
The six attributes are Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. For each attribute, roll 1d6.
- On a 6, the attribute is +1
- On a 2-5, the attribute is 0
- On a 1, that attribute is -1
You add your level to damage rolls and start with 6 additional HP
You have skills. When you make a roll to which a skill is applicable, add that skill’s bonus, in addition to the relevant attribute, to the roll. You start with +1 in every skill. When you gain a level, you can increase a single skill’s bonus by 1, to a maximum of +2.
- Sleight of Hand
You start with a single random spell, selected from a list determined by your college. You can cast any spell you know as much as you like. When you do, describe the exact effect you want the spell to have, and roll 2d6 with no modifiers.
- On a 10+, the spell succeeds, as safe as houses
- On a 7-9, the magic works somewhat, or it succeeds at a cost, whether it be in HP, Soul, or be some other turn for the worse.
- On a 6-, something terrible happens.
Sorcerers of the Dark College can learn the following spells. There may be others, waiting to be discovered by the cunning and perspicacious.
- An incantation to extinguish light
- A spell to bestir the Dead
- A charm to commune with beasts
- A conjuration to call forth a weapon
- A glamour to change one’s form
- An invocation to seal a pact
- A spell to illuminate the darkness
- A chant to banish the Dead
- A petition to heal the wounded
- An augury to peer into the past
- A prayer to destroy enchantment
- An orison to glimpse the future
You begin with d6 pieces of equipment of your choice from the Lamentation of the Flame Princess Miscellaneous list, in addition to the following:
You start with a single weapon. It can be melee or ranged, though you begin play with only d6 pieces of ammunition
- Light weapons require one hand, are easy to hide, and deal d6 damage on a hit
- Martial weapons require one hand and deal d6+1 damage on a hit
- Huge weapons require two hands and deal d6+2 damage on a hit
- Clothing reduces all damage received by 0+Constitution and allows the wearer to move quickly
- Light Armor reduces all damage received by 1+Constitution, and the wearer to move at moderate speed.
- Heavy armor reduces all damage received by 2+Constitution, though the wearer moves slowly, loudly and struggles with activities such as climbing and swimming.