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UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice


quote:

Glory Fades
Gods Laugh
Worlds Crumble
Time Devours
What is The Skeletons?
The Skeletons (designed by Jason Morningstar) is a game about a group of people cursed to defend a lost tomb for all eternity, reduced to skeletons by the oblivion of aeons before the seal is finally broken and intruders come in looking for sustenance, shelter, or treasure. In other words, it’s an inverse dungeon crawl (a dungeon lurk, if you like). Every time a new intruder crosses the threshold, the skeletons magically reanimate and are compelled by the same dark magic to kill them or drive them away. It’s only in the midst of this fleeting violence that they are truly conscious, and as time wears on they begin to remember fragments of who they were, while the world crumbles to dust around them.

This is a rules-light game where most of the rules govern the slow trickle of regained memories, as well as the slow decay of the skeletons and their tomb with ever-greater passages of time. The intruders and the actual combat are the least important part, and are more-or-less freeform (since the skeletons are guaranteed to win until they’re guaranteed to lose), though I’ll be playing the intruders using the mechanics from A Doomed Pilgrim in the Sundered Land (you can see some previous games of that here and here). The game also involves making a map of the tomb and altering it as intrusions and the passage of time take their toll.

One major feature of the game that can’t be translated to PbP is that the players sit in silent darkness between intrusions, for a time roughly proportionate to the time that passes in-game (so ten seconds is a week, while four minutes is a millennium). Instead, we’re going to leave the game thread silent for hours, days or weeks until the next attack.



How do you play it?
All the info you'll need to play is on the freely available character sheets (linked at the start of the next section), or will be provided by me later, but you can buy the game (linked at the start of the previous section) if you want to support the designer and run it yourself.

The game is split into setup and the intrusions themselves. In setup, you pick your skeletons from a list of 9 vague presets that are mostly named for the tattered remnants of the life they lived or their solitary defining feature (silver torc, rusted shirt, tattered cloak, headless, arrow-shield, outsider, horror, big head, crawler). We draw our skeletons with the few accoutrements they still have and flesh out the tomb a little by answering a question specific to each character (e.g. “What scene is depicted in the fresco that covers the Eastern wall?”).

The intrusions are split into three periods of ever-increasing length: ‘The Unsealed Tomb’, ‘The Time of Dust’, and ‘The Desecration’. In each period the skeletons face a number of intrusions, starting with things like grave rats or amateur tomb robbers and progressing to bandit armies and necromancers by the end. When an intrusion starts, I’ll control the intruders and each player controls their skeleton, and I’ll ask questions about how you defeat them. In these fleeting moments, you can remember the life your skeleton used to lead and fill out one (or none, or sometimes two) memories in the form of flashbacks. While each intruder is being dealt with, I’ll pick one or more options from the Glory Fades or Gods Laugh lists, which deal with the skeletons being changed or damaged by the passage of time and the efforts of intruders. Anyone who didn’t have the opportunity to narrate a memory and still wants to can do so, and then the skeletons return to their posts and drop back into darkness. Time passes until a new intruder arrives, at which point the skeletons awaken and the cycle begins again. As longer and longer periods pass between intrusions, I’ll start picking items from the Worlds Crumble and Time Devours lists, which deal with the tomb itself degrading and falling into ruin. At the end of the Desecration, the skeletons will either face a foe they cannot defeat, who scatters their bones once and for all, or they will remain undisturbed in thoughtless darkness forever.

This game will use Realtimeboard for the map, with players moving character icons around to show where they are during each intrusion.



How do I sign up?
I'm going to take 2-4 players.

First, pick a character sheet and follow the instructions immediately under your skeleton’s name/title, but don’t answer any of the questions yet. Either draw the details on your skeleton, or find an appropriate image from somewhere.

Then, tell me something about each of these three things:
  1. The tomb as a whole.
  2. A place (chamber or passage) within the tomb
  3. The sarcophagus itself.
Be general rather than specific – there’ll be a lot of opportunity in the actual game to add detail. It’s fine now to say something like “the tomb lies under a mountain”, “there’s a passage with rough-hewn walls”, and “the sarcophagus is made of obsidian”. When we start the game I’ll draw out a tomb that fits everyone’s descriptions, plus the answers to the first questions on the character sheets, which fill out the details of the central chamber where the sarcophagus lies. If more than 4 people apply I'll likely still incorporate one or more tomb details from those who don't get in.

UnCO3 fucked around with this message at Nov 10, 2018 around 13:14

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Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Tattered Cloak




The tomb is far larger below ground than above.

There is a long gallery of images for those whose remains are lost. Paintings, frescoes, busts, death masks, woodcuts. Some of the names and faces are still visible.

The dais of the sarcophagus is spattered with wax and unknown stains, the remains of sacrifices over the years.

chin up everything sucks
Jan 29, 2012



Crawler



The tomb sits atop an aquifer, and the magic holding out the water waxes and wanes over the years - rooms are sometimes flooded.

A small chamber in the center of the tomb once housed the staff that maintained everything. Evidence of a small kitchen, beds and other necessary life essentials still litter the room, although there are no remains.

The sarcophagus is made of thousands of tiny interlocking plates of gleaming copper, each engraved with tiny symbols.

chin up everything sucks fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2018 around 15:59

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Silver Torc


The tomb is shaped like a nautilus shell.

There is a room filled with toys and children. The children are statues. The toys are real.

The sarcophagus rests on an ornately decorated boat.

Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2018 around 03:01

Fathis Munk
Feb 23, 2013

??? ?


Headless



The tomb leads through a solitary mountain, with two entrances on opposite flanks.

There is a large vertical shaft in one of the rooms, it leads all the way to the surface, smooth and straight. Below it lies a small lump of dull metal.

There are several similar looking sarcophagi, I don't think anyone remembers which one is the real one.

Fathis Munk fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2018 around 17:10

RandallODim
Dec 30, 2010

Another 1? Aww man...


Horror



The tomb's interior is carved directly from the stone; not a single tile was lain in its construction.

There is a chamber within the tomb which has no physical entrance nor exit.

The sarcophagus remains forever mildly warm to the touch.

RandallODim fucked around with this message at Nov 9, 2018 around 13:02

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Them's some good skellingtons keep them skellingtons coming ya got 48 hours from now, 8am GMT.

Also, chin up everything sucks, your image isn't formatted right - on imgur you need to right-click the image and pick 'copy link', or else go into the sharing options for the image and copy the BBcode, otherwise you just get the url for the page with the image on it rather than the url of the image itself.

EDIT: points to Halloween Jack for staying on aesthetic message, black and white images will be made for all

chin up everything sucks
Jan 29, 2012



UnCO3 posted:

Them's some good skellingtons keep them skellingtons coming ya got 48 hours from now, 8am GMT.

Also, chin up everything sucks, your image isn't formatted right - on imgur you need to right-click the image and pick 'copy link', or else go into the sharing options for the image and copy the BBcode, otherwise you just get the url for the page with the image on it rather than the url of the image itself.

EDIT: points to Halloween Jack for staying on aesthetic message, black and white images will be made for all

Sorry about that, I have images turned off on SA because I check it the IT related threads at work. Didn't realize I had grabbed the wrong link.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Ah, my bad.

Signups still continuing, but for now here's a Discord link for this (and other) games.

AJ_Impy
Jun 17, 2007



Yam Slacker

Rusted Shirt



The Tomb's stairways are deliberately uneven, cut to slightly different step lengths and angles to trip the unwary.

There is a room near the entrance exquisitely carved to produce and amplify sounds whenever air moves through it. When the tomb is sealed, it is silent, but intrusions are heralded by eerie noises caused by their own breath and motion.

The sarcophagus has a cunningly crafted bronze mirror set in the lid. To see one's reflection in it is deeply harrowing for some reason.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Couple of changes:
  • A minor rules change - I'll pick from the Glory Fades and/or Gods Laugh tables during rather than after intrusions.
  • In the interest of getting more people playing, I'm going to run two games. One will use the default material, and the other will use the Fire Mount variant included with the rules, which is functionally identical on the front end. Both will take up to 4 players, and can have different people playing the same skeleton type in each.

Rather Watch Them
Mar 28, 2012

Don't worry loves! NEED A CAVALRY HERE!


Tattered Cloak



The tomb is slightly tilted to one side, whether by tectonics or intentional construction.

There's a room that nature has overtaken, musty and covered in subterranean foliage.

The lid of the sarcophagus rises and falls as if breathing.

Dachshundofdoom
Feb 14, 2013



Pillbug

Outsider


The tomb is filled with unlit torches and braziers. If lit, they burn with a strange reddish hue and cast disquieting shadows.

One room is an enormous and seemingly bottomless chasm crisscrossed by bridges. Some of them are ornate stonework; others are rope bridges that sway uneasily underfoot.

The sarcophagus has been poorly chained shut, with many of the chains already half-broken or hanging slack.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

And that's 4+4! I'm a little busy right now, but I'll organise the groups and tombs happen tonight.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Tonight, actually.

Also, I'm considering rotating the GM position between players. This would involve:
  1. Me making a skeleton for each game.
  2. Me sending the relevant mechanical info to each new GM when their intrusion is next.
  3. The rotating GM narrating the intruders' actions and picking items from the Glory Fades/Gods Laugh/Worlds Crumble/Time Devours lists when appropriate.
  4. The rotating GM's skeleton remaining mysteriously idle/dormant while they control the intruders.
If anyone's not up for this, I can GM in their slot.

Dachshundofdoom
Feb 14, 2013



Pillbug

I'm fine with taking a turn at the wheel (skeleton).

RandallODim
Dec 30, 2010

Another 1? Aww man...


Yeah, I'll throw the bones as GM.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

My bones are your bones

AJ_Impy
Jun 17, 2007



Yam Slacker

Eventually, sure.

Fathis Munk
Feb 23, 2013

??? ?


I'd be happy to give it a try

chin up everything sucks
Jan 29, 2012



Works for me

Rather Watch Them
Mar 28, 2012

Don't worry loves! NEED A CAVALRY HERE!


Probably. I don't have the book yet but with some instruction I could be down.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Okay, after a little finagling and a little editing, here are our two groups (unless anyone has any objections):
    Group 1, playing the default game
  • Tyrannosaurus, playing Silver Torc
  • Halloween Jack, playing Tattered Cloak
  • chin up everything sucks, playing Crawler
  • Dachsundofdoom, playing Outsider
  • UnCO3, playing Horror
    Group 2, playing the Fire Mount variant:
  • Rather Watch Them, playing Tattered Cloak
  • Fathis Munk, playing Headless
  • AJ_Impy, playing Rusted Shirt
  • RandallODim, playing Horror
  • UnCO3, playing Arrow-shield


The basic details of group 1's tomb are as follows (map to come):
  1. The tomb is shaped like a nautilus shell, spiralling ever-inward, which can fill from the bottom up with water due to its location above an aquifer. The wind-scoured entryway, the only part visible above ground, belies the vast space that lies beneath. The walls of the tomb, where not otherwise in use, are lined with regularly-spaced braziers and torches - when lit, they burn with a strange reddish hue and cast disquieting shadows.
  2. Much of the run of the tomb is dedicated to the images of those whose remains are lost - paintings, frescoes, busts, death masks, woodcuts. Some of the names and faces are still visible, especially towards the entrance, where the dedications are newest and the memories of the dead freshest.
  3. A small chamber at the centre of the nautilus once housed a small staff that maintained everything, including a small kitchen, beds, and other necessary life essentials, although there are no remains.
  4. Directly beneath that is a room filled with toys and children. The children are statues. The toys are real.
  5. Directly beneath that is a seemingly-bottomless pit, criss-crossed with stone bridges that lead on a winding route deep, deeper, deeper still into the blackness, until it reaches a stone pier that extends to an ornate boat, chained with anchors half-embedded into the walls of the chasm.
  6. The sarcophagus lies in the belly of this ornate boat, the deck of which is spattered with wax and unknown stains, the remains of sacrifices from times long gone. The sarcophagus itself is built of thousands of tiny interlocking plates of gleaming copper, each engraved with tiny symbols, and is bound by chains - yet many of them are half-broken or hanging slack.


The basic details of group 2's tomb are as follows (map to come):
  1. The tomb is deliberately hostile in its construction - the whole place has been hewn from solid rock with not a single tile laid down, and yet it is slightly tiled on its axis and every stair is uneven, to catch unwary robbers and set them on unfair ground. Despite this threat to robbers, there are two clear entrances, one on each side of the mountain.
  2. The heat of the mountain sustains a bizarre symbiosis of cave moss and lichen that shrinks from the light of the sun and flourishes in the deepest chamber.
  3. The entrance chamber is exquisitely carved with undulations and channels that guide the air that moves through it. When the tomb is sealed, the room is silent, but when the seal is broken, the wind creates eerie noises that rush through the winding halls and herald the intruders.
  4. There is a vertical shaft in one of the rooms that leads all the way to the surface. Beneath it lies a small lump of dull metal. Despite the magic compelling the skeletons to respond to any intrusion, they did not react in any way to this substance.
  5. There is a chamber in the tomb with no physical entrance or exit.
  6. There are multiple sarcophagi and it is unclear which, if any or all, contain the person of status whom this place was built to protect (or restrain). One has a stunningly crafted bronze mirror set in the lid - to see one's reflection is deeply harrowing for some reason. The lid of another rises and falls as if breathing. The third and final is unnaturally hot to the touch.


EDIT: Maps should be done tonight, after which everyone can answer the first question on their sheets (the tomb-related one). We'll start the games once that's all sorted, hopefully tomorrow. I'll also need an email address from everyone to add people to the maps so you can move your skellingtons around, show where they stand guard, and so on.

UnCO3 fucked around with this message at Nov 12, 2018 around 21:14

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Group 1's map:


You can now answer the top question on your sheet!

chin up everything sucks
Jan 29, 2012



UnCO3 posted:

Group 1's map:


You can now answer the top question on your sheet!

What does the intricate mosaic that covers the floor depict?

Four scenes are laid out in great detail, although some details have been lost to time and wear.

A glowing figure in green gives several coins to a faceless figure in black robes, while several smaller figures cluster around the legs of the glowing figure. Another scene shows the smaller figures following the black robed figure into the ground, where they are given a room of luxury to rest in. Later the figures stand and walk out, to again be met by the glowing figure, who ushers them into the day, while the faceless figure is visible faintly in the background.

Dachshundofdoom
Feb 14, 2013



Pillbug

Where are the signs of pending collapse, damage and decay in this ancient place?

The groans and knocks of stone of under stress are becoming more common in the great chasm. Occasionally a few pebbles or a stream of sand will fall from above or shed from the walls, rattling off the bridges as they plummet into the darkness below.

A few wall sections of the nautilus-esque section of the tomb have begun to spiderweb with tiny cracks near the bottom. The cracks grow imperceptibly wider every time the water rises to fill them.

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

UnCO3 posted:

Group 1's map:


You can now answer the top question on your sheet!

What beautiful artifact is enshrined in the alcove off the northern wall?

A golden statue of a great octopus encrusted with jewels and pearls. Down each tentacle is carved the same phrase but in a different language.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Tattered Cloak



quote:

Who are interred in the seven niches along the southern wall?
The...clergy. Priesthood. Tradition says they get set aside and buried together. I think it's because theoretically, they're sacred offerings and no longer part of the family, but they are part of their own family. So their graves are ordered simply by date of death, and not by generation, sex, nor by marriage nor degrees of kinship. Their bodies are in the best shape. Monks and even priestesses tend not to be buried with much of any value beyond the sentimental.

What "tradition?" Hey, bite my bones, pal.

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at Nov 13, 2018 around 02:35

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Group 1 tomb fact: What subtle things in this place speak to a purpose far, far beyond honoring the noble dead?

There are fossils in the nautilus walls. Fossils of fish.

The tomb is many moons' travel from the nearest ocean.

-

Also, here's what the Horror looks like (less fleshy, though):




Group 2 map:


This may need a little explanation: the copper(ish) sarcophagus is the one with the mirror, the green one is the one that breathes, and the red one is the one that's unnaturally warm (in a volcano, so pretty warm). The unconnected chamber is below, and the meteorite is in a junction.

I'm not sure where this volcano's magma vent is, to be honest.

Rather Watch Them
Mar 28, 2012

Don't worry loves! NEED A CAVALRY HERE!


GROUP 2



Who are interred in the seven niches along the southern wall?

The seven who made this place
Ordered by the honored lord
Picking and scraping at stone
Branching and meandering
North to south for untold years
The end was their resting place
Seven madmen, seven holes

Rather Watch Them fucked around with this message at Nov 15, 2018 around 03:58

AJ_Impy
Jun 17, 2007



Yam Slacker

Rusted Shirt


Group 2 map:


What magnificent and imposing object dominates the western wall of the tomb?

It is a vast, tall stele of black marble, triangular in cross-section. On each face is inscribed in every tongue known to the Builders what to do if one of the sarcophagi are opened.

Fathis Munk
Feb 23, 2013

??? ?


GROUP 2



What scene is depicted in the fresco that covers the eastern wall?

If one was to remove the moss and lichen, they could see a faceless armed mob opposed by a mighty hermaphroditic three headed figure. One mouth is pursed, blowing a curlicuing wind. The second is wide open, jagged flames springing forth. The last mouth is contorted into an unnerving rictus. The winds and flames are wreaking havoc amidst the horde of enemies. Some are charred, some are thrown away and the back ranks are starting to falter and break.

It is unclear whether this is meant to be in remembrance or warning.

Fathis Munk fucked around with this message at Nov 14, 2018 around 18:27

RandallODim
Dec 30, 2010

Another 1? Aww man...


GROUP 2



What subtle things in this place speak to a purpose far, far beyond honoring the noble dead? Note your answer on the map.

One sarcophagus holds not a body, but access to the solitary room below.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

For group 2:

What amazing treasure lies well hidden in the tomb, and where, and how?

A brilliant blade, flashy, but useless. However, only the rightful heir can hold it. Anyone else finds that it burns their hand.

It is impaled into solid rock in the secret chamber.

-

Game threads will go up later today. For now, here's how to play the Intruders on your turn:
Group 1
Group 2

Let me know if anything's not clear, but hopefully it should be clear after the first run-through, which I'll do for each group.

-

A couple more important notes (the first two are listed elsewhere, but I want to remind people):
  1. The skeletons can communicate with each other using a form of telepathy to discuss matters, make plans, and otherwise exhibit a limited form of agency.
  2. The skeletons must always act to remove intruders from the tomb (by killing them or otherwise). They can lie in ambush or otherwise exploit silence and stillness to their advantage, but they can never aid or ignore the intruders.
  3. Memories can be as brief or long as you like (and can quickly write up). They can take the form of your skeleton remembering things, or flashbacks to when they were actually alive, or both, or something else. Go with whatever makes sense when you're writing it.

UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Both game threads are now up!

Game 1
Game 2

Remember that you can answer a memory question at any time (but only as many as are allowed by the Intrusion - in this case, up to 1 each, except for those who kill the tomb robber or her beast in game 1, who can answer up to 2).

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UnCO3
Feb 11, 2010

Ye gods!


College Slice

Couple of rules clarifications for things people have brought up in the discord:
1) The turn order starts with the next Intrusion. I'm handling the first (and last, and any missing ones) in each game.
2) The questions you can answer (stated in the intro text for each Intruder) are memory questions, not the questions about Intruders, which are answered by the person controlling the Intruders or collectively by everyone playing their Skeleton. You can fill out memories at any time you like during or at the end of an Intrusion.

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