Tinkering with Coldville X

So I’ve decided to spend a little time on one of my previous projects. The aesthetic here is to have ordinary people with dark secrets commit terrible deeds (against each other). Each character has secret objectives that are often in conflict with the other player’s plans. In this game, you don’t necessarily win or lose, but there is a certain level of backstabbing involved here. This game isn’t for everyone, for sure.

This time, I’m going to talk about the core mechanic I’m working on. I’ve been inspired by L5R’s Roll and Keep mechanic, but I’m probably going to take a little inspiration from Michtim as well.

Players have four core Attributes. These have either fancy or more concrete names. Each Attribute is opposed by another Attribute. So Blood (Violence) is the opposite of Bone (Tenacity), and Shadow (Deceit) is the opposite of Flicker (Paranoia).

To call a trait Paranoia already says something about the aesthetic of the game. This isn’t about being a hero. It does not have shiny traits that make you look like a champ. In this game, every Attribute is seen through the dark lens of sinister motives.

  • Blood / Violence: Inflicting harm, being a brutal bastard
  • Shadow / Deceit: Manipulating others, being sneaky
  • Bone / Tenacity: Surviving at all costs
  • Flicker / Paranoia: Always being cautious

Each of these Attributes can then be used in either of two Domains. You get to roll your Attribute worth in dice first, but you only keep a number of dice that is limited by the Domain’s rating.

  • Mind: Mental, social (and possibly magical) actions
  • Matter: Physical or mundane actions

Characters start with one dot in each Attribute and Domain. So you will always get to roll at least one die. The chances of success are slight. I’m thinking about a Target-Number of 6 to allow 1d6 to possibly be successful, if rather unlikely. Players get to spend further dots on Attributes (up to a rating of 3) and Domains (also up to 3).

Four Attributes control the player's role, while a different set of Attributes (Mind and Matter) control the focus of the character.The rules will probably feature example Actions that are “hard-coded”, but also try to allow players to improvise heavily. Maybe even use two Attributes limited by a single Domain in some cases.

This is a first sneak peak, and there probably will be a lot of changes.


Hacking Emotions

Emotions define a character’s role. They also interact with the Mood Marker rules, so you gain a benefit on future rolls. But what if you don’t like that particular flavor of the system? Maybe a different theme would fit you better?

After my work with Michtim was done, I also thought about writing a shinobi hack. I’m a big fan of Naruto and Legend of the Five Rings, so it sounded reasonable to go with an Elemental theme:

Elemental Theme

  • Air: Movement and Perception.
  • Water: Restoration and Building.
  • Earth: Defense.
  • Shadow: Stealth.
  • Fire: Attack.

The oppositions would remain the same though. If you are attuned to Earth, you are less able to attack and move swiftly. If you’re attuned to Shadow, it also means you’re slowing down and can’t channel healing powers.


lying200I like pentagram based systems, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of my previous projects, also used five Attributes. These are much more in line with classical RPG systems.

  • Body: Power, Resist (Physical)
  • Agility: Move, Attack, Evade, Hide
  • Ego: Influence
  • Logic: Reason
  • Psyche: Resist (Mental), Detect

The system was built around the concept of doing nasty, forbidden things. Breaking with moral codes and experiencing a lot of traumatic situations. It was inspired by Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni. The game was supposed to be played as one-shot with a lot of randomly generated plot hooks and secret mission objectives. It had high lethality and was very PVP-oriented. It reflected my default gaming group back then. We played a lot of Vampire and other games about manipulation; and our fun consisted mostly of backstabbing each other. That game was co-created by A. Wladkowski, but we never finished development. Sometimes I think I should work on it again.

In this hack I would still use the bonuses conferred by randomly generated markers. But I would remove the penalties, because these traits don’t really reflect actions that well. Also the system doesn’t really benefit from Callings as is. It might help to change the traits to a more active theme instead.

What are your thoughts?

Calling: Paragon

Hey there!

I want to hear your thoughts about this new Calling group I’m working on. Actually this isn’t a single Paragon Calling, but rather you choose to become a Paragon of Fear or Paragon of Love.

The Paragon Calling allows the player to convert Mood Markers of a given kind into the Paragon Emotion. It also offers a slight benefit to that given Emotion, since converting Fear into Fear does not do anything.

My design intention with Callings was that there should not be a required Attribute-combination to make them work. In D&D it makes no sense to play an Int 8 Wizard, for example. I want Callings to be useful to every kind of Personality.

Now I want to offer a new option for players of specialists. If your character is about Fighting, then becoming a Paragon of Anger might be really worthwhile. If you don’t have high Anger, the Calling might still be useful to be “angry when you need to”.

The rules look something like this:

Paragon of (Emotion)

All Emotions except EMOTION: You can reflexively convert Emotion Markers into EMOTION Markers.
EMOTION: EMOTION Markers offer a +2 bonus for each marker.

Each Paragon would have a special Utility Power that describes the character’s relationship with the chosen Emotion. A Paragon of Fear might be able to Lie in Wait indefinitely, or a Paragon of Anger might be good at Breaking Stuff.

Elemental Paragons

Paragon of Anger: Inflict Fire Wound, Fire Mastery
Paragon of Joy: Gain Power of Flight, Air Mastery
Paragon of Love: Remove Wound Effects, Plant Mastery
Paragon of Grief: Immunity to Wound Effects (Stone Fur), Earth Mastery
Paragon of Fear: Hide in Plain Sight (Mist), Water Mastery

Alternative Utilities

When playing a Michtim character, your Personality defines your group role. Characters with high Love make good healers, those with Anger are expert fighters and heroes with high Fear are hard to find.

Callings modify your character’s capabilities, but don’t (usually) affect your role. The role remains the same, but the way you do your job changes significantly. Sorcerers can do their thing at a distance. Tacticians affect multiple targets. Cybertooth heroes act at blazing speeds. Some Callings offer new Actions, but still rely on the character’s Personality to decide the particular flavor of the effect.

But besides offering mechanical benefits, Callings also come with Utility Powers that offer useful thematic hooks to work with. A Sorcerer has magical knowledge and can cast minor spells that aren’t handled by the rule system at all. A Cook knows everything about Shopkeeping, while a Cybertooth remains unaffected by social interaction, due to their machine-like condition.

When trying to create a fun character, you can pick any Calling and try to tinker with the particulars. Maybe you find new explanations for the mechanics. Maybe you’d like to pick a unique Utility Power that covers your character concept. This time, I’m going to offer new Utility Powers for the Core Callings.

  • Adventurer – Wayfinding: You never get lost, regardless of your current whereabouts.
  • Artist – Empathy: You are very adept at reading Moods and finding out about other’s Personality.
  • Bard – Earing: You are able to hear frequencies that are usually beyond hearing.
  • Cook – Refined Taste: You can pick out hidden substances and identify poisons.
  • Courtier – Etiquette: You know your way around court and enjoy social standing.
  • Cybertooth – Multitasking: You can process multiple mental actions at once.
  • Daredevil – Rogue Tricks: You know tricks of misdirection and larceny.
  • Frostpaw – Cool Down: You can slow your metabolism so you survive conditions like hunger or a lack of air.
  • Machinist – Gearhead: You can build and repair Gear and add Enhancements.
  • Sorcerer – Sense Magic: You are attuned to magical energies and can analyze them.
  • Tactician – Use Environment: You have a keen understanding of environmental factors and can utilize them.
  • Witch – Dryad Friend: You can speak with plants.

Let me know if you like them! Or share your own new Utility Powers!

Also I advise storytellers to allow characters to have multiple Utility Powers per Calling. Everything that fits the Calling’s concept is fair game. Take the new Utility Powers in addition to the existing ones. You should be fine.

Calling Variant: Dynamo

Hey there!

If you’ve already followed me since before Michtim RPG,
you might still remember Ratte Macchiato.

Ratte MacchiatoMacchiato is a Michtim, living in exile. Hence his demeaning monicker “Ratte“.  In truth, he is an agent of her fluffiness Queen Miyu; but only few Michtims know about that. Most others shun him because of his strange abilities.

Instead of relying on Symbolaya, this little Michtim Warrior harnesses the spark of his very soul. He developed a unique ability, called Dynamo that allows him to charge up and turn into living electricity. (He did so before Cole MacGrath became cool, mind you.)

So what is Dynamo all about, you ask? It is a Sorcerer-Variant that explains all the mechanics with a lightning motive. The Focus action of the Sorcerer becomes a Charge move, making his whiskers spray colorful sparks and arcs of electricity. The utility power of Dynamo is also greatly changed from the Sorcerer template. But here are the details of all aspects:

Blitz (J) Turn yourself into a flash and jump a long distance. Also able to magnetize objects and telekinetically move them around. The senses are also greatly enhanced, utilizing an electromagnetic field to cover great distances.

Invigorating Spark (L) Supercharge the regeneration of wounded friends. Repair mechanical objects at a distance, usually by welding broken parts.

Electromagnetic Shield (G) Create a deflecting shield around a target.

Blending Matrix (F) Charged particles create an optical illusion that hides the Michtim. When Evading the Michtim is deconstructed into digital stuff and instantly reassembled.

Spark Hammer (A) Changes the Michtim into electricity and propels them at enemies. After the Attack, the Michtim bounces back to its former place.

Cyberpathy (Utility): The Michtim can communicate with digital/electric systems. It can even possess a machine temporarily, becoming one with the object and controlling it.

Ratte Macchiato

Calling: Shapeshifter

I want to offer you a sneak-peak at the new Callings, I am working on currently.  I have several on my list at the moment, including Vampire, Juggernaut, Mentalist, Ritualist and Shapeshifter.

Remember the basic method of Trait Changes in Michtim RPG? Instead of gaining more Attribute points during your career, you will be able to shift individual dice between traits. Of course you still have to keep the Trait Limitations in mind (Traits are rated at 1 – 4). Usually, these shifts are only plausible if the character has a specific reason to explain, why he moved 1 die from Love to Anger. Also, players should not shift multiple dice in a single session.

Enter the Shapeshifter. Due to their ability to change their form, they can now redistribute their Emotion dice; at least until the end of the current scene. These changes are explained by bodily modifications on one hand, and psychological changes on the other side of the equation.

Rule Text (Draft)

Spend 1 Mood Marker to shift 1 die from an Emotion of your choice to the Emotion you’ve spent the Mood Marker for. Traits still have to range from 1 to 4. Changes last until the end of the current scene.

Disguise: You can appear to be someone else. Your disguises all have a single Tell that might help others to see through your charade.

Let me know what you think!

Cornelius Funkenflug ✝ 2014/03/17

Cornelius RIP


Today is the blackest day for Michtim RPG. Our beloved Cornelius Funkenflug von Abendrot has passed away. You can judge his importance by looking at the back of the book. He was not only Master of Secrets, but Keeper of Protocols and Archmage as well. He was one of the lead characters in the NPC section, and he plays an important part in my fiction project as well.

He was our inspiring hero, who always carried on, regardless of a broken leg or what-have-you. He never gave up. He taught us, how to pull through, no matter the cost.

He was a brave soul.

He will be missed.

-Georg & Alex
Some videos to see him in action:

Thank You


Lately, life has been good to me.

  • I got through a heart surgery without lasting complications
  • I found an awesome new job: now I’m working part-time with great colleagues and interesting work assignments
  • I got through a phase of serious depression and burnout, relatively unharmed. I’ve been really lucky
  • Not to forget my bf

I want to give something back.

Take the game for free, if you like! Share this post with others, so that they don’t miss out on the opportunity. I want to say thanks, and that’s my way of doing it. Just punch in 0 and download my game!


// This will probably be online for a limited time. Be quick!

Felixus the Alchemist

Felixus the Alchemist

Felixus the Alchemist

I finally was able to colorize Felixus. He’s the alter ego of Alex, my partner. Felixus is one of the few Michtims, who lacks a deed name. “They always just call me Felixus.” he notes, “or Fely.” That’s probably because he is very shy. As personal servant of Archmage Cornelius Funkenflug von Abendrot, his schedule is already full with important appointments. Like heading out to yet another Dungeon with Meister Cornelius (don’t call him Corny), and his partner Tym Eisenfuchs.

He also is an avid supporter of Rasse’s Buh Recipe Compendium. Buh equals fart; just to be sure you know, what I’m talking about. The ghastlier the smell, the higher the praise. Okay, I will leave that particular topic until I’m able to post a portrait of Rasse. She will probably tell you everything about it, anyway.

UPDATE Autumn 2015: Actually we found a very fitting Deed Name for Felixus! He’s called Honigpfote (honeypaw).

Unexpected Soundtrack: Part II

Hey there. Whenever I drive or walk alone, I’ll have music on to accompany me on my journeys. Every now and then, I encounter songs that spark Michtim visuals in my mind. I think that my choice of music will seem rather unfitting to others, but I still want to give this a go. Maybe it does something for you too?

Paramore - Part II

Paramore – Part II (Audio Stream)

The first song in the Unexpected Soundtrack category is Paramore‘s Part II. I am a big fan of Let the Flames Begin (~Part I), because the lyrics go something like this:

What a shame
We all became such fragile, broken things
A memory remains just a tiny spark

Now this is powerful to me, because of some Michtim Secrets that are yet to be revealed to the public. I want to do this in my fiction project, so it will still take a while, until we get to that particular point.

The fear of not living up to the standards of others is an important aspect of some of my characters. Lumpi strives to be a sorcerer-alchemist, when in fact he is not any good at Symbolaya. Rasse craves her mentor’s attention, but is highly jealous of Penny, when she receives summoner training from Archmage Cornelius Funkenflug von Abendrot.

Now this motto is repeated in Part II.

What a shame, what a shame we all remain
Such fragile broken things
A beauty half betrayed
Butterflies with punctured wings

Still there are darkened places deep in my heart
Where once was blazing light, now
There’s a tiny spark

The world of Michtims is full of Emotion, and some know about the darkened places in their own hearts. The hero’s journey begins with the blazing light of innocence, but through the trials of life, sometimes our idealistic light gets dulled.

Many characters will encounter breaking points in their careers. Meaning well to protect the wild (Conservancy) can lead to the abandonment of progress (Culture). Striving for prosperity (Culture) can blind us to the needs of others (Charity). It is a rare Michtim that will never fall short on any of the three Virtues.

The evocation of light is one of the first spells most Fauchschule kids learn. It is called Bokaschi — The spell that reveals hidden things. I imagine Penny beholding a tiny spark of light between her paws, whispering the spell during the refrain, and finally exploding to reveal all the friends around her; which is a contrast to the “Dancing all alone” line.

Oh Glory
Come and find me (Bridge x2)

Dancing all alone
To the sound of an enemy’s song
I’ll be lost until you find me

Fighting on my own
In a war that’s already been won
I’ll be lost until you come and find me here
Oh Glory

Her newfound friends are all around her. Each one is shown briefly, showing off their special power. Lumpi using Dynamo to charge up, Rasse levitating rocks and herself, Rocco with a huge paint brush, Plavka with a robotic sound blaster, Emilio with healing plants, Rozalia who can turn her fur into stone. Penny summoning her will-o-wisp Candelor Luminus Blitz III.

Dancing to an enemy’s song creates this impression of being forced to fight wars that you wouldn’t have started yourself. Being lost is a big aspect of the character Penny and her search for her identity and place in the world.

The search for Glory is a very human/Michtim thing to do. You have people that made it big, and you want to impress your elders, parents or friends. Glory fills the heart with light, makes you proud to be who you are. Lumpi will look for ways to shine, regardless of his magical deficiency. Rasse is still something of a wunderkind, even if she probably won’t ever be a summoner.

Okay! Enough of the talk. Listen to the song!

Paramore – Part II (Audio Stream)

Lyrics courtesy of MetroLyrics: Paramore – Part II Lyrics | MetroLyrics