1. Introduction (2)
Gushémal is the name of a fantasy world that we have created as the venue of a series of stories, at its core the classic pseudo-medieval setting. There are a number of original features and departures from the classic world, so that Gushémal has turned into an intriguing place to explore.
We do so regularly in our stories, which you can read here. There you will also find a lot of background information on the world, on the various places there are, the creatures one might encounter, the way magic works, and so on.
Gushémal is a big world, one that certainly holds far more than only a few stories.
And so we decided to open it up for role-players by devising our own system. Thus, the Gushémal Role-Playing Game came into being, so that players everywhere can take part in the exploration of this new world. (Trust us, we feel more like explorers ourselves, not like creators.)
It’s a pretty big task constructing an entire RPG with a fully rounded and logical rule system. Although the world exists in a relatively complete form, the demands of a RPG are a lot larger.
Besides, we didn’t wish to trample down the old paths. As pleasant as they were (and are), we’d like to find new ways and uncover new attractive ideas. That certainly makes the task a good deal more difficult.
Some elements of GRPG are the same as in almost any other RPG. The reason for that is that these elements generally have already reached perfection – and not using them would be akin to trying to invent a new kind of wheel. (If we should be overlooking some other methods, we’d be happy to learn of those better ways of doing things. After all, you never stop learning and improving.)
The biggest difference to most RPGs is that there are no character levels. A character still gathers experience points and will improve during the course of the game, but the changes are more subtle than in the level system. Characters only change their skills and abilities. The hit points (i.e. the amount of damage a character can take) are generally not increased; which also means that it is as easy or difficult for a beginner’s character to be killed as it is for a long-time player’s PC. The advantage here is that the start-up character doesn’t die quite as easily; it also means that the long-time PC still needs to be wary and can’t just dismiss an attack by someone weaker than a fully grown dragon.
If you’ve ever taken a glance at a RPG – and certainly if you’ve played one -, you’ll know that these games are exceedingly complex. There are hundreds and hundreds of points that have to be taken into account, worked into a thorough system that covers most of what needs to be possible (or impossible). The rules have to reflect an entire world, which ranges from the generation of characters to combat, but also include such instances as the currencies, types of gemstones, their values, or types of poison, or types of medicine, and so on, and so on.
One other, very important point, is that we haven’t been working on the RPG very long. The idea of adding a game to the world and stories of Gushémal came relatively late, so the work you are reading now is the product of only two months. In the coming months we’ll slowly be upgrading the system, adding corrections and working our way towards a full version.
To find any errors or mistakes – or to stumble across better ways of handling some situations – we need to playtest it. And yes, you guessed it, we haven’t quite been able to do that yet, but we’re going to change that very soon.
Instead we have concentrated on finishing a very basic system that offers a good range of gameplay, but is still simple enough to catch mistakes. As a result, a number of tables and pre-determinations (available in some other systems) are missing.
Attention, all battle-hardened warriors of the dice!
Would you like to be involved in the creation of a new RPG, namely the Gushémal Role-Playing Game? We would love it if you took our game out for a spin, put the rules through their paces and discover how it could be improved. (This also applies to people who have never played a RPG before. We hope you’ll learn how much fun a gaming session can be!)
Of course, any contributions of yours would be mentioned by name!
In the last week of March, we will release our first adventure module, The Courier’s Oath. It’s designed for beginners, and should provide a rollicking good time, with a few twists and turns along the way. It also provides any information you might need for a small campaign set in Gushémal.
(You could also employ the information given on our website in the form of the stories and the background texts to create a campaign of your own.)
Give it a try, and please write to us about your experiences! firstname.lastname@example.org will be happy to read about your thoughts and ideas, and he’ll use your input to bring us closer to Version 1.0.
Thank you for your help!
To play GRPG, you need a pencil, an eraser, a pocket calculator (optional), and at least two ten-sided dice (d10). More than two are helpful.
You can get ten-siders at any gaming shop in your area. (Some comic shops also have them, but not too many.) If you don’t know a shop like that, you might try a little program we have available at our side. E-Dice is a random number generator that works pretty much like your ordinary dice; you press the button for the ten-sided die, and the number of eyes are displayed.
(A quick note: E-Dice is also in its earliest stages of development. Later versions are expected to incorporate the actual rules of GRPG, so that the program will take care of the calculations of combat, for instance.)
You need two ten-siders because there are a lot of percentage rolls in the game, which means the result needs to be in the range of 1 – 100. To do that, you’ll have to assign one die as the single-digit die and the other as the double-digit die. (Ideally both have different colors.) An example: After your roll, the single-digit die shows a 9, and the double-digit die shows a 2. Put it together, and the result of your percentage roll is 29. (You need to assign the dice before you roll. Otherwise the chances are you’ll get into a heated discussion with your fellow players.)
An alternative is available in some shops which offer paired dice for such percentage rolls. One has the single digits (1 – 0) on its sides, the other has the double digits (10, 20, 30,…). That makes the solution easier, and it also assures that any discussion of whether the result was 29 or 92 is warded off right away.
Where do the adventures take place? Of course on Gushémal, but it’s a pretty big world. You can find lots of information on our website, under www.gushemal.com/world.htm. There’s much to go around – too much to start out. And so we have selected one area of Gushémal for our RPG: the Wild Coast of the Arrufat Peninsula. It’s a free place, with few rules, small villages here and there, and plenty of space for adventure.
This is also where the story Ruins and Hopes takes place, which you can download from our website. It showcases the area as well as some of the dangers. More detailed background information you can glean from the adventure module B1 The Courier’s Oath that introduces not only a full-fledged adventure but also a setting that you might wish to use.
Again, the website also offers additional information, such as a historical overview of the Arrufat peninsula (the so-called Unholy Assault).
All of that taken together gives the Wild Coast and your campaigns a solid footing from which you can launch your own imagination.
The Player’s Handbook is the primary rulebook for GRPG. It contains all the information a player needs to run a character in Gushémal. In the following sections we’ll take you through the various aspects of the characters, such as the race or the class (or profession if you will). We’ll go into some detail so you can understand the meaning of all the various terms we’re throwing at you – and expecting you to use in the game.
Your character must belong to one of the sapient races of Gushémal (Chapter 2), e.g. humans or dwarves. As you can imagine, this has a lot of meaning to the character – a dwarf is smaller than a human, has a different build, different kind of strength, and so on. There’s also the racial history, which offers a different playing field for each race.
The class (Chapter 4) determines what your character has chosen as his life’s path. He could be a fighter who lives by the sword, or he is a cleric devoted to a single god and spreading the divine message. By that token, this also modifies your character – a cleric won’t look as much after building up muscles as a fighter will.
Within the class, a character has access to a certain range of class abilities, that is special abilities which are only available to this class. A thief, for instance, can learn how to pick locks while the fighter is more likely to open a locked door by bashing it in.
Attributes (Chapter 3) are the basic qualities of your character. They represent the character’s strength, agility, intelligence, and so on. (Attributes aren’t chosen by the player, they are rolled out with a pair of dice.) With them in hand, you have a pretty good idea what that character is like at the bare-bones level.
Add to that the skills (Chapter 5) that the character has learned. These are things like speaking a second language, or smithwork, and the like. They are crafts (or, perhaps, professions as well) that the character has taken a liking to – enough to spend the time to learn them.
Now you know your character pretty well already. But there are some quirks that spice up the character nicely. The characteristics (Chapter 6) are advantages and disadvantages that come naturally to the character, such as light sleep (advantage) or a phobia against snakes (disadvantage). They play into the game directly, most of the time.
Then you’ll have to give your character some equipment. Without clothes, without weapons, armor, and the like, it’d be a poor thing to run around the land, now would it? In Chapter 7 you’ll find the requisite information, as well as the prices.
More likely than not, your character will run into combat during the RPG session. Chapter 8 offers you the necessary information on how to handle battle – hopefully victoriously.
Chapter 9 finally deals with magic, the spells and blessings that are conjured up on Gushémal. (Please take note that this is the one chapter where we haven’t made much headway at all. Chris is still busy working it out, but he’s run into a few problems and would appreciate any assistance.)
After reading the Player’s Handbook, you can head onto the Character Sheet and start creating your own character. (There is more detailed information on how to use the character sheet in the Instructions, included in that file.)
Some elements are still missing. You’ll certainly come to this conclusion after reading the Player’s Handbook, and there’s a good reason for this.
You as the player need not know every little detail of what’s going on around you. In fact, that would probably detract from your enjoyment of the game. After all, in real life, you don’t know every single rule that affects your life. And playing a RPG is about living a fantasy life – not knowing everything enhances the experience and adds suspense to it.
Oh, yes, there have to be rules, but those should be known to the game master (GM) alone. For that we have the Game Master Guide, which includes lots of additional rules that should not be read by a player. (Of course you can get yourself the Game Master Guide and read up on those rules, but we honestly recommend you stay away from that. It’s more fun this way.)
If you are still not satisfied, please send a mail to email@example.com and let him know your questions and suggestions.