by Delos

Godbound: A One On One Playtest

Well I finally got a victim… volunteer to play Godbound with me. You can find the kickstarter here. Jacob came over and we did a one on one session. I just printed off the latest version and away we went.

Character creation went pretty smooth. Godbound uses a different version of Old School Renaissance (OSR), which is the grand dad of D&D. We didn’t have a premade character sheet, but using notebook paper worked just fine. Jacob rolled out his stats (4d6 dropped lowest), then wrote up some Facts about his character. Think of facts as the same as FATE aspects or 13th Age backgrounds. They are something you declare about your background, and if that Fact would help you in a situation, you gain a bonus on your roll. This makes the skills portion of creation go pretty quick, assuming your players are creative. He decided that he was an oyster farmer living in a city that just got over a war with the merfolk that live right next door. The merfolk look like Kevin Costner’s character from the movie Waterworld. Jacob’s character, Malak, was instrumental in establishing the peace talks.

Then Jacob picked out his Words of Creation. This is the god part of Godbound. There are twenty something Words you can pick from. Each one gives you some sort of boost, and then you can pick out a few more powers, called Gifts, from each word. Jacob picked out Sea, Death, and Beasts. By default he could swim like Auquaman, command the undead, and command any beasts in the area. While he picked his gifts, which are handled really well in this game, I was figuring out what the heck he was going to deal with. The gifts them self range from a constant bonus to altering the very fabric of said Word. Jacob was able to become king of the ocean as long as he had a Gift activated. The balance of this was Effort. Every player has only so much Effort they can use, so this prevents Godbound from turning on all of their Gifts at the same time. It brings a great balance to the game.

I opened up the Sixteen Sorrows pdf that I got from the same author. It’s a fantastic, system neutral, group of random tables to help you come up with a scenario to deal with in a session. I went to the terrible beasts portion and rolled up a terror from the deep.

Once Malak was ready to go, I glazed over XP and other rewards, because we weren’t going to play this for long. I introduced Malak to his old friend, Jode, who is a merfolk monster hunter. They talked for a bit and Malak discovered that Jode just lost his whole crew to something in the depths of the sea. At this point, no one knew Malak was a Godbound, so Malak confided in Jode. With a sliver of hope, the two headed to the sea and headed to the merfolk city to see if Malak could help.

When they arrived at the city, it was discovered that the the guard is under attack from zombie merfolk. Turns out this terror of the deep corrupts the bodies of its victims, then turns them against their own people. So I asked Malak my favorite question, What Do You Do?

His answer put a smile on my face. “First I command all the nearby, aggressive fish, to attack the zombies, then I command the zombies to simply hold still, finally I turn myself into a dire shark, covered in bones and spikes, and rush in with a flurry of violence and death.” Now granted all of that happened over the course of a few rounds, but it led up to an amazing fight. Malak ripped the zombie horde apart, while taking a few blows himself. The merfolk guards backed off and watched in horror/amazement at this. In the end there was a cloud of black ichor hanging in the water. The fish swam away, and out swam Malak in his human form. He told the guards to get the people to safety and he was going to deal with the creature that caused these zombies.

Malak had Jode head into town to get people to safety and then swam to the Depths to deal with this horror. There Malak found a sanity educing abomination. Malak saw through the deception the horror, Dagon, was trying. It looked like it had a few merfolk in its tentacles, but they were just bait. Dagon would hide in the shadows of the Depths, then attack when someone came to help. Malak charged in by turning into a giant squid and wrestled the monster. Dagon brought one of its tentacles down in a mighty chop, that probably would have killed Malak, had he not dodged it, but instead it created a tidal wave that was heading towards the towns. Malak quickly changed into a dire narwhal (never thought I say that) and plunged through Dagon, killing the beast for good. We were running out of time (it got late and Jacob had work in the morning), so I told him how the war was going to start up again as the surface dwellers were going to accuse the merfolk of attacking them.

Overall I had a lot of fun running this. I thought running a game for level one demigods would be difficult, but the author did a great job prepping me for this. It also helps a lot if you print off the Words on single sheets of paper and just let your players keep a copy of each of their words. That cut down on character creation by a lot.

This was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to receive the final project. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Kevin’s game.

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