Turnaya Map Sketch Found!

Turnaya Map Sketch

Turnaya Map Sketch

A wanderer’s notebook has been found deep in the Immergrummelwoods. The unfortunate soul must have made it through the Veil. But who knows what happens to lost adventurers, who sleep within the sacred clearing of Turnaya?

You can see that this wanderer already started to uncover some of the secrets; possibly by observing the Michtims through a looking glass. Turnaya is made up of several districts, called Asts. The wanderer also found out that there are quite some levels to Turnaya:

Palace: The residence of her Highness Major, Majestic Supreme, Queen of Turnaya, Miyu the Wonderful!
Himmelsblatt: (Skyleaf) Most noble institutions can be found high up on the tree.
Grünblatt: (Greenleaf) The hotspot of Michtim life, with school district and workshops and Naschkerias.
Schattenblatt: (Shadowleaf) The docks and seedy taverns can be found here. It is where most goods come to Turnaya through the elevators.
Stem: The residences here are rather unprotected, but still quite busy, especially with workers.
Roots: Outcasts can be found making their living between the roots of Turnaya.
Underground: The Grauling city is a place of industrial and technological miracles, but something went wrong…

Alternative Ways to Play?

cS_michtimRPG_en_2-02Michtim Story Mode Sheet

So, I’ve been doing a bit of research and had some thoughtful discussions with fellow storygamers from the story-games.com message board. Together, we’ve been looking at possible ways to move Michtim into a different direction.

The game initially was supposed to have a video-game component. That’s the reason for the very combat-centric core mechanics of the Core Rulebook. Yet, I do think that Michtim is also about other things. About exploration. About interaction.

I’ve changed the character sheet to show the new actions. You should be safely able to do everything you did before; but now some Emotions have become a little more useful, in my opinion.

The core mechanic remains the same. You roll vs 7, and may set aside dice (before rolling) to increase hits. Every hit lets you pick one of the aspects that are listed on the character sheet. This way, you can now look for opportunities (Make a Discovery) and distribute hits among the factors Value, Immediacy and Duration.

Go wild with it! Add your own actions!

Also the Sins have been removed from the game entirely. To earn Karma, you play out Complications or try to act in accordance with your Virtues (any will do). Virtues are now only relevant in the fiction, because they are cultural values. There are no sins and no mutations to worry about… of course acting against a Virtue might get you in trouble with the Haus!

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: