I got my Kickstarter copy of Gods of the Fall from Monte Cook Games not too long ago and I’ve been wanting to try it out. Today’s the day! I’m about to become a god, boys and girls.
The story of Gods of the Fall is an epic tragedy. The world was once like a lot of other fantasy lands. Humans rubbed shoulders with other races in fantastic kingdoms like the magical Cavazel. There were many different gods and many different pantheons, all living in the celestial realm of Elanehtar.
Then Elanehtar was destroyed somehow and the pieces fell to the ground. Lands were destroyed, millions of people died, and the pantheons died. Now the world needs new gods to save it from the chaos following the Fall and the corrupted creatures who remain. There’s almost two hundred pages in this guide, all of them outlining the world in pretty awesome detail, so all leave it there for now.
The first choice in Gods of the Fall, just like any other Cypher game, is choosing the type of character you’ll play. There are three types of proto-gods available, each of them mapping more or less to the types in the Cypher System Rulebook: the champion (warrior), the shaper (mages), the destroyer (explorer), and the savior (speaker). I’m going to pick the destroyer since I’m most interested in heading into the dark places to take on monsters and find the secrets of the Fall.
Rolling randomly on the Backgrounds chart gives me a nice backstory: I found a map that provides directions to one of the odd buried structures of the Ruinscape, the shattered remains of golden Cavazel. I have all the beginning abilities of a first tier explorer as well as Stealth Skills. I’ve got strong Might and 6 additional points to divide among my stat Pools. The final ranking will be Might 12, Speed 13, and Intellect 9.
There’s a different list of special abilities for destroyers and I get three plus my Stealth Skills from before. I’m going with Trained Without Armor (since I have a high Speed), Spin Identity (the Tier 1 speaker ability), and Decipher (if I’m going to be mucking around in ruins, I might as well know what I’m looking at).
There are plenty of good descriptors in the Cypher System Rulebook, but I want to go with a new one from Gods of the Fall. I’m tempted to go with one of the new racial descriptors (the tall, eyeless tarans or the yuan-ti-like sleen) but I’m going to pick one of the others instead. Wary looks good since it fits with the secret-hoarding, ruin-exploring god that’s taking shape here.
With Wary I get another +2 to Speed (this guy is going to be untouchable!) and I’m trained in identifying dangers (like traps in ruins). I’ve also got Intellect defense and a connection to the starting adventure that I’m going to roll randomly: I trailed the PCs and when I saw they were no danger I introduced myself. Perhaps I met them on the road to a ruined location that I was going to explore…
I’m pre-approved for any focus in the Fantasy genre of the Cypher System Rulebook, as well as four new foci for this book. There’s quite a list to pick from and while I’d like to pick one of the four new ones, I don’t want a dark a brooding god or a trickster one. I like the idea of Abides in Stone since a stonelike god of secrets seems cool, someone who keeps them quiet because of his nature rather than because of greed or malice. That messes with my Speed powers, though, so instead I’m going with Carries a Quiver
At this point, in another Cypher game, I would just have some equipment to pick out from my character type. In Gods of the Fall, however, I’m just getting started. The character so far is the mortal who will become a god, someone with the spark but not the divine purpose yet. To accomplish that, I need to pick a dominion.
Dominions are like portfolios for deities in D&D: they are the matters that the god is concerned with and over which he has some authority. I’ve already said that I wanted secrets to be my area of interest, but I want to make sure it’s colorful enough to provide inspiration throughout the campaign.
Ironically, a PC’s initial choice of dominion is the most telling thing about them, while at the same time being the most ephemeral, especially as their dominion relates to game mechanics. The PC’s chosen dominion informs their dogma (their tier 3 Obligation), informs the dominion benefits they choose (starting at second tier), and even more important, might guide them when they decide their type, focus, and descriptor.
– Gods of the Fall, page 138
It was the other way for me (character aspects and then dominion) but I still want to make sure that the dominion chosen gives me ideas for future character choices. Dominions can shift or become refined over time, but I want to pick one now that I’m proud of: Finding Secrets of the Fallen World.
Eventually, I’ll pick a symbol and start building a church, but this is it for now. Like building a creature or doing most anything in the Cypher system, this process is both exciting and fast. I’m ready to play in a half hour (even writing this commentary) and ready to claim my place among the new generation of gods.