Modern day Haros is built atop an ancient empire who's lost secrets are still being discovered by scholars and adventurers. It is full of diverse people and cultures and is a world where humankind, until recently, stood side-by-side with the elder races of Dverge and Alva. Both the teachings of those creatures of stone and wood, and the persistent connection to magic and nature, have taught humankind much about diversity and acceptance. That doesn't mean that the world hasn't known much strife caused by chieftains, petty nobles, and ambitious rulers going to war for reasons of ideology, power, or to settle grudges, but when necessary the majority of humans know how to set aside their differences and work together.
War Against the Blight
The year is 2864, five years after The Great Alignment. A night that you, like all survivors, remember all to well. Cosmologists foretold the double eclipse and alignment of three major constellations far in advance, and the entire world stayed up late to watch it happen. But what they didn’t foretell was the evil that would cross through the veil between worlds and threaten to destroy all creatures of light. Otherworldly creatures walked the land raising armies of undead, and turning those of malign spirit into servants for their cause. And their purpose was immediately clear—the destruction of all living things.
At first the Dverge and Alva, ancient races of stone and wood, stood side by side with humanity to fight against the forces that became known as The Pestiline. But after three hard months they all retreated from the front lines and vanished--supposedly returned to wherever they had originally come from. So humanity, alone, continued the fight and after four long years where half of the continent was converted into a desolate wasteland called the Blightlands, a hard-won stalemate was achieved. For almost a year the remaining human settlements have enjoyed a strained peace, and well-fortified cities and towns have become crowded havens for humanity. But the constant threat of the Pestiline creates continued vigilance, and all available resources are diverted into standing armies ready to repel the next invasion attempt.
Magic in the world of Haros is tied intrinsically to nature, the elements, and the cycle of life and death. Nature magic represents the power of light, life, and the physical world. It is often associated to human virtues like benevolence and honesty, but is not inherently good in and of itself. It simply exists and can be used for purposes both good and evil. Magic on the other side of the cycle is called Nether and represents the power of darkness, death, and the netherworld. It is often associated to human maleficence and traits such as corruption and wickedness, but it is not inherently evil. It, too, simply exists and can be used for purposes both good and evil.
Every living creature is born with a connection to both types of magic and learns to use one or both of them in their daily lives. The blacksmith uses magic to shape metal and calm a horse while it is shoed, and the farmer uses magic to know when to plant and how to best care for the crops. They don’t cast spells to do these things. They simply occur as part of a natural, magical connection to the world.
Blightrealms uses a success-based six-sided (d6) dice pool system to determine success or failure on a skill check, and everything in the game is resolved through either an individual or contested skill check. Either way, you only roll the dice once and the outcome of the attempted action is immediately resolved. The entire system is kept as simple as possible to make it easy to learn and relatively quick to play--even when executing large tactical battles, which are encouraged through world narrative and supported by the system.
Character advancement is done through a combination of class kits that are ranked up, abilities and spells that are acquired as you rank up, and general and specialist skills that are also leveled as you rank up. There is a lot of flexibility in how you can build your character, their abilities and spells, and what skills you choose to master. But every class kit is situated firmly within the narrative of the world and reflects the influence of the ongoing war against the Blight.
Blightrealms at GenCon 2019
Lead systems designer Tom Toynton is preparing to take the current beta version of Blightrealms back to GenCon this summer. A new 4-hour adventure scenario will introduce players to the Blightrealms game system and world of Haros. Four out of five sessions sold out last year and the feedback from players was very positive. So we are looking forward to another great convention with all of the updates the game has undergone this past year.
If you are going to be at GenCon and want to experience the game in person, search for "Blightrealms" and our three sessions should be all that show up in the events list. Register for a session and we'll see you at the table in August!