To emulate the race against the clock, actions within the campaign cost “weeks” of time. Traveling across the Four Kingdoms has a cost in time, as does going down into dungeons, taking on companion quests, cleansing regions of evil, and spoiling the machinations of the Adversary.
As the MC, you will have a set of fiendish plots. Each plot is a “resource clock” that fills up over time. If the heroes can’t diffuse the plot – through a quest, negotiation, defeating a monster, etc. – the clock fills and is readied for the FINAL BATTLE, giving you greater options, more powerful monsters, and darker abilities.
Over time, RPG sessions become “harder” and “deadlier” – both through the inclusion of harder foes and monsters, and from “darkness effects” which give the heroes disadvantages when it comes to specific actions in the game.
You are a GREAT HERO of the FOUR KINGDOMS. You aren’t just some adventurer – you are a hero of legend leading your forces to save the world!
Each player creates a HERO and a COMPANION. Each has their own character sheet, and depending on the Quest and session you may play your Hero or your Companion.
- THE HERO – The Hero is the leader of a force of allies – soldiers, outlaws, thieves, wizards, or perhaps something stranger. These forces provide narrative options for character during RP and are your major resource for the final battle – utilizing polymorph’s exceptional ability to change scale and scope without altering core rules.
- THE COMPANION – A fully fleshed out RPG character that bolsters ANOTHER character’s HERO.
- THE FORCES – The foot soldiers, troops, animal companions, and the like that make up the army of the Heroes.
COMPANION and HERO characters are compatible with MAZES Fantasy Roleplaying and can be used in Mazes games – and your Mazes characters can be used as COMPANIONS in the Return to Dark Tower RPG.
Each session features 3 distinct phases – Quest, Tally, and March.
- QUEST is the core, traditional RPG session – going down into a dungeon to battle a monster and loot treasure, a roleplaying session of politics or intrigue, etc. The QUEST’s aim is to either give the HEROES a resource for the FINAL BATTLE (negotiating with Bone Hills mercenaries to join your army, acquiring a magic staff from a tomb in the Lost Lands, etc.) or for foiling an ADVERSARY PLOT (stopping the emergence of the Soul Lich in the Irontops, saving the village from a plague in Three Rivers, etc.).
- TALLY is a phase dedicated to an inventory of your resources. It replaces the traditional fantasy treasure hording and shopping step. What do our forces look like? What are our advantages? Are we ready to attack the Tower, or do we need more support?
- Finally, we MARCH. The final wrap-up of each session where we decide what we are going to do in the next session – take on a new quest or proceed to the final battle? Decide which heroes and companions are going to play, and where they want to go. This will cost time (and possibly resources).
The ADVERSARY acting as the MC works with the party to determine what they want to do next, where they want to go, and how they want to spend their precious time. While certain HEROES and COMPANIONS are playing, others can be assigned to activities that spend time and produce resources or effects. The Adversary then advances their PLOTS based on the outcome of the game session and new time spent, and goes away to prepare for the next game session.
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Publisher: 9th Level Games