Schattelgeist - developing a 40k roleplay setting

Punktaku

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what if they embrace the insanity? is there a path to daemonhood? or a path from “whatever class i started as” to Champion of Chaos and then on up the pantheon? (Lord, Prince, etc.)
 

HorribleHedgehog

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If you want this, I'm up for being one too.
I'm considering it. It could be cool if the gods were a little distant, to add to the whole godliness thing, but it could be frustrating for the players if their carefully prepared sacrifice amounts to nothing because the gods couldn't be reached right then!

I'd change that to if they fail the discipline check they do the eact opposite of their attempted action
Yeah, that's a good change.

what if they embrace the insanity? is there a path to daemonhood? or a path from “whatever class i started as” to Champion of Chaos and then on up the pantheon? (Lord, Prince, etc.)
I'm thinking that some classes could have access to Talents that grow more powerful the more insanity they have accrued. Psykers in particular could have a build that grows more powerful but also more unstable with deteriorating mental health.

I still want to maintain insanity as a broadly negative thing that can occasionally be of use to you. I don't think there should be any mechanical Insanity point requirement to achieving daemonhood - anyone willing to commit the acts required for such is probably completely bonkers from our point of view anyway, they're just possibly more high-functioning than the average chaos cultist!
 
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Punktaku

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oops! i didn’t mean using the insanity points to achieve daemonhood. i meant is their a way to go all in and achieve daemonhood?

maybe both? your detrimental level of insanity could affect daemonhood in a big way. Off the charts and you’re a Spawn. Too high and you’re a Beast (Fleshhound, Nurgling, Steed, Flamer). Elevated and you’re a minor daemon, Kinda Crazy and you’re a greater demon, Low and you’re a Prince. Once you change, you’re stuck. Once you pass the threshold, you can’t (without great effort?) get a better result.
 

HorribleHedgehog

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I thought mortals could only ascend to a daemon prince or degenerate into a spawn while all other types of daemons are born of the chaos gods themselves?

In my mind a character can always ascend regardless of their level of insanity (of course, as long as they perform a major feat in the name of their god), it's just that they stop being playable after 120 points. This is mostly because I can't imagine playing a character who's so submerged in his obsessions that he's incapable of acting against being rewarding in any way, so I think it's better to have the player create a new character and relegate the old one into NPC-dom.
 

Punktaku

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that’s the usual fluff, yeah. but! what if? it’s a demon world in the eye of terror or deep in the warp, yeah? what if this is the chaos powers’ deep dark secret? (or just go with Spawn/Prince)
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I think I'm gonna stick with the spawn/prince thing. In any case, if anyone's gonna ascend to a daemon prince that's gonna be at the end of the absolute endgame and if the players insist on playing after that I'll cross that potential bridge when/if I get to it - for now, the game is going to concentrate on the mortal followers of chaos, because they're infinitely more interesting than daemons. :p

Lately I've mostly been assembling a giant inspiration folder to give my players an idea of chaos, the gods and related aesthetics. It's been exhausting but fulfilling. I'm somewhat annoyed by the fact that CSM get so much art dedicated to them - seriously, judging by official GW art every follower of chaos is an ancient supersoldier - but I've included lot of fanart and completely non-40k-related art to balance things out a little.

I also had an idea for another ritual:

(Slaaneshi) Ritual of ensorcellment: Requires average ritual knowledge, little psychic power, and a live subject. If succesful, the subject falls under the control of the ritualist. Difficulty of the ritual depends on the Willpower characteristic of the subject. Once per gaming session, the subject can attempt to break the control with a hard Willpower check.
 

Biggle_Bear

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I like the idea of a madness mechanic, but remember not to take away their player directory. Those are their characters and they might feel sidelined as players if the rules or GM call the shots over their character's actions. I would focus on giving rewards for role playing a madness in a way that makes the game more interesting, for example earning extra exp.

Also if it was me, after the players get into the swing of things I'd start highlighting the positives of chaos, as contrasting against the imperium. Like by having a character (once lowly citizen now a warrior) that chose chaos to take revenge on an inquisitor who called exterminatus on a planet for weak reasons. Then when you think you have them convinced throw in an imperial preacher begging for his life and see how they handle it. I think something like that would be a good way to teach them about the grim dark factions of 40k.
 
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Punktaku

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Are players committed to a single Power or will they be able to add Powers and become a follower of Chaos Undivided?
 

HorribleHedgehog

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I like the idea of a madness mechanic, but remember not to take away their player directory. Those are their characters and they might feel sidelined as players if the rules or GM call the shots over their character's actions. I would focus on giving rewards for role playing a madness in a way that makes the game more interesting, for example earning extra exp.
This is a very good point and after giving the matter some thought, I've thought of a carrot-and-stick type of system. The basic idea is that actions that go against your madness causes you strain, while giving in to your madness lowers it. This doesn't outright prohibit or force any actions, but should encourage people to carefully manage their actions and gives an incentive to give in to the madness, especially when the character is already under heavy strain - ie, stressed or tired. The level of insanity determines the amount of strain suffered or recovered.


Also if it was me, after the players get into the swing of things I'd start highlighting the positives of chaos, as contrasting against the imperium. Like by having a character (once lowly citizen now a warrior) that chose chaos to take revenge on an inquisitor who called exterminatus on a planet for weak reasons. Then when you think you have them convinced throw in an imperial preacher begging for his life and see how they handle it. I think something like that would be a good way to teach them about the grim dark factions of 40k.
Well, I've figured that the entirety of the campaign would take place on Schattelgeist, with PCs being native inhabitants, partly so that I'd only have to explain a small part of the universe to them and not overwhelm them with information. Of course, after the players have gotten the basic idea of the setting I can start introducing elements from the rest of the universe...

The Imperium's been known to launch the occasional crusade to the Eye, right? I feel there are possibilities here...

Are players committed to a single Power or will they be able to add Powers and become a follower of Chaos Undivided?
Yeah, players can go from single-god to undivided and vice versa. It'll come with a Favour point cost, though - the gods probably aren't that keen on the idea of having to share their favoured mortal with the others, and the undivided champ who settles with a single god loses their favour with the rest.

And like I've stated before, to offset their unparalleled flexibility undivided characters have a more difficult time earning favour points. It's hard trying to please everyone at once.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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I've been thinking about the classes (or rather, careers and specializations, as they'ce called in EotE). I've yet to write any detailed rules or talent trees, but I've got the basics down. As in EotE, characters can use XP to purchase multiple specializations of their career or even buy themselves into another career entirely.

CAREER: Warrior - general fighting types

SPECIALIZATIONS:

Pit fighter - Dedicated melee specialist with a hint of social skills to represent their ability to work a crowd. Also get plenty of talents that give them benefits for being unarmoured.

Champion - Balanced combat/leadership class with an improved strain threshold (This one's a tad boring - I'm open to suggestions).

Imperviant - Tanking class that gets buffs for taking damage and being injured. Can ignore minor injuries or even continue fighting for a short time after being reduced to 0 wounds in exchange for insanity points.


CAREER: Sorcerer - the only career that starts with a psychic rating

SPECIALIZATIONS:

Diviner - Dedicated support class. Gets bonuses for Rituals, and can buff themselves and their allies with consumable fetishes. Also a reliable healer, and a decent physical combatant.

Unbound psyker - Powerful but volatile combat psyker. Strong powers with an increased chance of psychic backlash. Can boost his powers further by voluntarily taking on insanity points.

Biomancer adept - A psyker with powers that center on buffing themselves. Backlash from reckless power usage can result in involuntary mutation.


CAREER: Scout - sneaky types that are also decent in combat

SPECIALIZATIONS:

Hunter - Ranged/stealth specialist with some survival utility. Also get talents that make disabling enemies in non-lethal ways easier - handy if you need a 'volunteer' for your ritual.

Assassin - Melee/stealth class. Can also craft poisons and combat drugs.

Scavenger - Tech, survivalism, and stealth. Can jury-rig low-tech equiptment out of very limited materials. Can upgrade results of Perception or Vigilance tests by suffering strain.


CAREER: Technician - for fixing and modifying stuff

SPECIALIZATIONS:

Augmenticist - Medicine and mechanics. Capable of installing more bionics than normally possible, though it comes with an insanity cost. Can also servitorise NPCs, given time.

Heretek - All tech, with focus on modifying existing equiptment. Eventually talents allow them to bind daemons to equiptment, which function as powerful modifications that can cause nasty side effects.

Wasteland mechanic - Adept at fixing things and keeping them running, also a good driver. Can jury-rig like the scavenger, but even more so. Also starts out as a better combatant than other tech specializations.



I'm still lacking ideas for a social interaction -based career and specializations. Any ideas would be very much appreciated!
 
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Punktaku

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Career: Socializer (i have no idea what this could be called as an overview)

Specializations
-Demagogue: spreading the word of their chosen power/powers. Buffs others with speeches and encouragement. At higher levels can help ease the madness.

Inciter: persuasive, can influence others to do things and encourage them down the paths of madness and depravity.

Performer: stir other’s emotions through music and lyrics. can buff and debuff others based
 
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Biggle_Bear

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Unfortunately I am not familiar with the system so I can't help with that as much. But your ideas sound cool. I like the socializer ideas too. Maybe one could grant a temporary increase to madness?

If I were a player I would be interested in exploring how the society functions amid all the topseeturbee stuff. I don't think you should include things like farmer or some such boring careers but perhaps someone of the top might be interesting. such as slave drivers or someone with skills allowing the use of resources of society. Perhaps explore hierarchy with an entitled brat path, if that matches your vision of the planet.

This project genuinely peaks my interest. thanks for starting it.
 

Biggle_Bear

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I think you will have to prep your players well so that they understand that they will be playing badguys and that the correct way to play is not top overturn the badness but to climb it's ranks. I feel like it has cyberpunk dystopian layers to it, but cyberpunk is about carving out something good from within a system that is corrupt, so This takes a big swing away.
 
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Punktaku

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hmm... The Inciter increases madness, and so does the Performer. The difference is the Performer’s increase is temporary (duration of the performance, and maybe a limited time beyond it?)

i’ve never played EotE either. i’m just making stuff up as i go.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

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Career: Socializer (i have no idea what this could be called as an overview)

Specializations
-Demagogue: spreading the word of their chosen power/powers. Buffs others with speeches and encouragement. At higher levels can help ease the madness.

Inciter: persuasive, can influence others to do things and encourage them down the paths of madness and depravity.

Performer: stir other’s emotions through music and lyrics. can buff and debuff others based
So, a rabble-rouser, a silver-tongued manipulator and an artist? I like it!

The demagogue could have skills relating to controlling mobs and other non-important NPCs with their fiery rhetoric. Maybe they could even have a talent that makes them a more effective orator the more insanity they accrue - it takes a madman to fully appreciate the primordial truth of chaos.

By contrast, the inciter would be more of a traditional 'face' character, adept at charming, lying, negotiating and threatening their way through life.

The performer (Siren?) is an obvious fit for a buff/debuff role. Maybe allow the to make a special combat attack using their social skills to inflict strain on enemies.

Unfortunately I am not familiar with the system so I can't help with that as much. But your ideas sound cool. I like the socializer ideas too. Maybe one could grant a temporary increase to madness?

If I were a player I would be interested in exploring how the society functions amid all the topseeturbee stuff. I don't think you should include things like farmer or some such boring careers but perhaps someone of the top might be interesting. such as slave drivers or someone with skills allowing the use of resources of society. Perhaps explore hierarchy with an entitled brat path, if that matches your vision of the planet.

This project genuinely peaks my interest. thanks for starting it.
A temporary increase to madness sounds just right for the demagogue. Maybe allow him to raise the madness level of anyone listening to match his own (resistable with a discipline check, of course).

In my mind the "civilized" portions of Schattelgeist are a feudal society, with warlords and their household warriors and advisors at the top, and most of the populace being thralls or serfs. Farther from the Hive, more egalitarian tribal societies are the norm. The champion specialization is intended to represent the kind of people found at the top in these societies, either by upbringing and privilege, or meritocracy. I'll have to think of a way to give the specialization a talent tree that represents both of these adequately.

Thanks for being interested! I don't think I could keep this project going without the feedback I get here.

I think you will have to prep your players well so that they understand that they will be playing badguys and that the correct way to play is not top overturn the badness but to climb it's ranks. I feel like it has cyberpunk dystopian layers to it, but cyberpunk is about carving out something good from within a system that is corrupt, so This takes a big swing away.
Yeah, I'll have to clearly explain to my players that long-term positive change to the setting will be pretty much impossible. Unless they find a way to blow up the planet...

Of course, I wouldn't want to take the option of playing a moral character from them - I'll just have to make it clear their character arc will most likely be less about saving the world and more about having their idealism gradually broken down by the hellish conditions of their existence.

hmm... The Inciter increases madness, and so does the Performer. The difference is the Performer’s increase is temporary (duration of the performance, and maybe a limited time beyond it?)

i’ve never played EotE either. i’m just making stuff up as i go.
I know I'm tempted to give the performer some mechanics relating to insanity, if only to play the mad artist angle! Never gets old.
 
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Punktaku

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the way i was imagining it, the performer would affect insanity while performing (raising or lowering to a fever pitch or a mellow good time) and they effects would wear off over time. like the way you can get pumped up at a concert, and then the high fades once you leave until only tinnitus is left.

edit: i like Siren better than Performer. most of that was kinda free-flow
 

spafe

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Skal/Poet/Remberancer/Chronographer would also be fitting titles for the demagogue I think, depending on the god/part of scoiety they follow (khorne wanting their tales to be sung by a skal, wheras the finer points of society in slanesh province hark to Poets etc). This is rabble rousers though, as aposed to the below:

sirens could work in the traditional sense with a trait/focus for their 'art', either their looks, voice, paintings, statues whatever, that allow them control/buff/debuff/effects over those who hear/see/feel(?) their art. Their art is arcane almost in power, meaning they might develop some level of psychic background ebb.

Just some thoguhts
 

Punktaku

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i think there should be some form of Artificer for things like statues. i can totally see the Slaanesh in particular having obscene statuary that drives the viewer to acts of depravity. i don’t know how well that would work as an adventuring class, tho. but maybe as NPCs who attempt influence slowly over time?

artificers could also build relics, symbols, and other non-weapon items of power. spell boosters, insanity inhibitors, power reserves, healing potions, etc.
 

HorribleHedgehog

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Good ideas! I've been too busy with RL stuff to work on this, but it should get better now. Although on other news, we've slowly been getting our EotE sessions to continue as well, so that'll take a significant portion of my hobby time.

Anyway! Statues and architechture imbued with diabolical warp absurdity will certainly be a thing, though as Punktaku noted, probably not a practical skill for a traveling adventurer. On the other hand, allowing the Siren/artesan/whatever make relics with arcane powers is awesome, and I will work it in somehow.

As for non-sorcerer classes developing psychic gifts, I'll have to include a universal talent tree (ie. a talent tree that anyone can buy into, but cannot choose as their starting specialization) or two to represent psykers whose gifts have only recently started manifesting themselves.

As an aside, I've been thinking about a good, ominous-sounding name for the Hive. Here's what I have so far:

Mornagard (or Morngard, Moernengard, Mor-Nagard, Mor-Agarm, Mormogard, Gorgo Mormo [Yes, that's a Hellboy reference], Gorgorum...)
Vigilam (Vigilath, Ovligath, Ovgilath...)
Mourugant (Morgurant, Moridant, Morfecant...)

... Or something else entirely? What do you think?
 
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