It’s got all the strengths of SotDL: the stripped down, mostly intuitive, easy to run rules. The excellent path mechanic for advancement are kept, with a few new post-apocalyptic paths provided like Grease Monkey and Road Warrior. The specificity of the tables from SotDL, the interesting things that gave the game so much flavor are just as perfectly seasoned for a post-apocalypse in Godless; take this sample pair of interesting things: “A self-help book written by Tony Robbins” and “A bag of plastic toys made to look like food.” It sands off a little of the unevenness of SotDL as well, by leaving the setting largely unspecified, instead just providing suggestions for how to “Destroy Your World” to generate a post-apocalyptic Earth.
So what’s new? First, and one of the things I like best, are stories. Stories are a bit of character creation business in Godless, a more robust background mechanic than the core book. Which could be kind of confusing but look at it like this, the ancestry backgrounds are interesting, dangling hooks, a sentence or two, like this human background from Godless “An overprotective mother kept you locked in a cellar for your entire childhood. You escaped after she died.” Just a bit of strange character development meant to jolt a player’s imagination. The stories however, well, I’ll let Godless explain it “Characters in the World of Fire and Blood have endured much hardship and struggle before the game even begins. The stories of their past inform how they fit into the present and give guidance about how they might develop as the campaign unfolds.” Unlike the backgrounds which might give an interesting thing or a bit of corruption or insanity, each Story gives professions and a mix of benefits and hindrances. Take the Deluded story, for example…
DeludedA rash of new religions appeared following the Cataclysm. Dismayed by the false promises in their holy books, people invented their own faiths—some new interpretations of the old, others invented from whole cloth. You follow one of these new religions and are called deluded because you cling to your faith in the face of the indifference of the cosmos.
- Professions: Gain one profession from the Fanatic table and one random profession.
- Strong Beliefs: When you would make a challenge roll, you can choose to make that roll with 3 boons. Once you do so, you cannot use this talent again until you complete a rest.
- Righteous: Your faith guides you through a world of unrest and uncertainty. After you complete a rest, you must spend 1 hour in prayer. Until you do so, you are impaired.
I didn’t get a chance to test out the Vehicle rules, but they look to straddle that sweet spot of providing enough options to have a really good car chase seen and not so many fiddly bits that it’s a massive pain to run. The new spells, creatures and items are all excellently suited to the post-apocalyptic feel and include things like explosives, zip-ties, spells to process fuel, tolerate radiation and the Inheritors (sentient man-sized cockroaches).
While there are only three adventures for Godless (as of March 2018), they are every bit as well-crafted and easy to run as the Shadow of the Demon Lord scenarios. I ran two of them, In a Pig’s Eye and Dancing in the Ruins.
***SPOILERS FOR THE ADVENTURES FOLLOW, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED***