How to End the World
A Designer Diary on the New Scenarios in Wrath of the Gods
“Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse.”
Nature rises up against humanity. The twilight of the gods begins with the disappearance of the sun and moon. Great Cthulhu, sleeping for aeons in sunken R’lyeh, lumbers out of the Pacific Ocean and shatters the minds of all who gaze upon him. In Wrath of the Gods, you can take your place in all of these apocalypses and fight to survive for just one more day!
Created by Álvaro Loman and José M. Rey, The End of the World roleplaying game line invites you to play as yourself as the world comes to a terrible and tumultuous end in your own hometown. In Wrath of the Gods, the line's second book, five unique scenarios offer vastly different ways to experience the supernatural wrath of the gods. Today, Tim Flanders, a developer for the English version, explores just three of the scenarios included in this book.
Developer Tim Flanders on Wrath of the Gods
As we worked on Wrath of the Gods, it quickly became a completely different animal from Zombie Apocalypse. When we put together the NPCs for Zombie Apocalypse, the goal was to make each type of zombie feel different and unique to its particular scenario. With Wrath of the Gods, the NPCs started to take on a life of their own. Each scenario is so different and the beings involved are so incredibly epic, we decided it’d be alright if we went a little further afield.
The Return of Quetzalcoatl
For instance, when most people think of the Mayan apocalypse they only think of the end of the Mayan calendar – it’s an ambiguous kind of apocalypse. But what if Quetzalcoatl himself returned to Earth and manifested for all humanity to see? How do you represent the feathered serpent, the very master of time and space? The obvious first step was to give Quetzalcoatl a “6” in each characteristic. That’s right, the feathered serpent never rolls a positive die that doesn’t result in a success.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Quetzalcoatl can never fail at anything he attempts, because negative dice can still negate his successes. As a being with supreme mastery over existence, that circumstance wouldn’t make much sense, so we gave Quetzalcoatl the “++++ Divine Perfection” feature, which means he receives at least five positive dice to any check. Oh, and just in case any player gets some crazy ideas about taking down the feathered serpent for a really fancy pelt, we gave him the special ability, “Master of Space and Time.” I won’t tell you exactly what that does now – you’ll have to figure it out when the feathered serpent returns at the end of time.
While Quetzalcoatl is an immortal deity, beyond the ken of mortals, the gods of Ragnarök are surprisingly human. Yes, they’re beings of such epic power and proportion that they might seem immortal, but one of the key elements of Norse mythology is that the gods are, in fact, quite mortal. In fact, Ragnarök is all about the end of the gods. Still, we wanted to make sure the Norse gods weren’t the kind of beings that get taken out by something as puny as a rifle or a fighter jet. The gods and monsters of the Ragnarök are “Beings of Myth,” and that means they’re practically immune to those who dare to attack them with regular weapons. It takes a weapon with a truly epic history, courageously wielded by a true hero to actually hurt a Being of Myth.
So how are Player Characters supposed to handle this sort of threat? Well, the idea is that with all the mythological mayhem going on, only true heroes have the might and will to survive. Those who survive battles against draugr and trolls and giants will be able to take the weapons those monsters use. The draugr’s weapons are especially suitable, since draugr are undead warriors from ages past. A draugr’s blade may have been pulled from a burial mound and covered in rust, but only the weapons of the gods are more heroic. These legendary weapons were oft-times forged by the svartalfar, the industrious dwarves who craft the finest blades and mail in the nine realms. Lucky survivors might stumble upon these stout little folk, and clever players might seek them out, but be warned, their wares never come without a price!
That Is Not Dead…
And of course, what would Wrath of the Gods be without the High Priest of R’lyeh, Cthulhu himself? We wanted to make the Lovecraftian apocalypse feel very different from the others – it needed to be about the end of mind and soul as much as the end of the physical world. There are certainly terrors from the ocean deeps enslaving mankind and an unfathomable monstrosity devastating the land, but those who do survive the physical destruction are unlikely to do so with minds intact. Even the lowly Hybrid Deeps Ones, the twisted mongrel creatures that have lived hidden among us for centuries, have the “Disturbing” special rule. The mere sight of one can cause sanity to slip from mortal men, inflicting a level of mental trauma on a Player Character. The sight of something as reality-shaking as Cthulhu will likely obliterate the minds of those who look upon him.
Even Game Masters might find themselves questioning their sanity when they read Cthulhu’s NPC profile. What possible reason could there be for Cthulhu to have a “7” for each characteristic? What could it mean? A “7” in a characteristic is functionally identical to a “6” in all regards... isn’t it? What would cause us to do such a thing? Perhaps we’re just mad? Perhaps we’ve stared too long into the abyss and seen something no one was meant to see, some terrible truth about Cthulhu’s great and terrible return...
Ahem, I’m sorry, what were we talking about?
Divine Terror Awaits
The gods have returned to Earth, and not all of humanity will survive. Dive into the five unique scenarios introduced in Wrath of the Gods, and pre-order this book at your local retailer today!
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