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Game History...

The origin of the Darkness...

I was running a campaign game under another system but was never happy it, it ended up with countless modifications and even then it still fell short of the mark. I switched to playing for a while but all the other systems had short comings either too complex or to simple. So I decided to start from scratch  and use everything I had ever liked from other game systems and add a few things of my own and Darkness was born

Anyway here's a synopsis of where the game came from. Hopefully the logic behind the growth will make sense to you. The idea was to simplify the rules not the results. (If you want to see what it evolved from here's an earlier version of the System )


Nothing more than a dodgy character sheet that I printed out on my Apple ][. It had most of the stats as they are now, but the skills were not divided up into groups, also the system was based on a d100. percentile (two 10 sided dice. First the tens the other the units) the Success Level was given by adding the two dice together and then adding the skill. This roll was reversed (units then tens) to give a second roll that was the hit location. Simple but It took concentration on every ones part to figure it all out. But one roll gave four things. Success, Level of success, Hit location, and Da mage.. At the time all that number crunching didn't bother me and I could do this without slowing the game. CONFUSED HELL out of my players thou. (hey I was a war-gammer and a roleplayer and had committed several rules systems to memory how much more difficult could be some adding up.). Damage wasn't referenced to a chart but applied directly and there were literally hundreds of boxes to fill.

Well this didn't stay this way for too long. First to go was the percentile dice, you try getting your players to add 2 dice a skill then strength and weapon damage all at once. .If the GM did it there would be arguments with the 'rule lawyer' who swore that you'd missed something. So here I had created the problem I was trying to avoid. So the d20 came in and the hit location became a separate roll that the GM made. The damage table came in. But only the GM had a copy. The table was not at all linear in fact it changed the ratio of roll to damage all over the place. This was done for game balance, no point killing your players too quick or having them kill everything else too quick.

The success level and damage was added up, like current, then the victims body was subtracted and then applied to the chart. This gave less boxes to colour in but GM either had to keep record of all the characters stats, remember everything, or just make it all up...back to the problem of diceless.

But the problem with this was that all the number crunching was now the GM's problem. The GM could fudge rolls as needed for the story but it still was slower than it should be. For some reason it kept the rule lawyers quiet, I suppose because they didn't understand they couldn't argue. But alas it was still slow.

The specialization rules were formalized the current magic system as well came into being but very few players understood the concept of freedom to create any magiking so they stayed away from mages. So the system was simplified down to magic points and set spells. No need for separate schools and elements just schools. I hated it but it sorta got them in.

I hate it when players abuse magic it doesn't simulate the difficulty of the training required so I had the Sanity side effect idea. It works too, very few player will abuse the 'gift'. And those that do gladly pay the price.

Several games were run most had varying levels of success. If I had very interested players it worked brilliantly. If I had a couple of bad players it sorta flopped. The rules only known by me would take too long to adjudicate and the momentum of the story was lost.

Meanwhile the world was developing. In my head it was brilliant but the players couldn't see it the way that I could. So I had to develop the world better and introduce the players into it slowly. I ran several games in one genre only world. Fantasy, 1920's, Dark future, etc but each time the game would get going I'd have a writers block and want to run something else.

At first I was going to set the world as a Space Opera. Rather than have all the different technological eras represented on one world I was going to have them on different planet. This leaves infinite room for expansion and games can be written completely out of left field.  However with that infinite a universe player found it hard to function. Player would not necessarily under stand basic concepts with out reading reams of background info. If the GM believed one thing but the player believed another there would be a lot of extra work for the GM. Players make assumptions based on the genre, destroy too many of the assumptions the player become lost and don't know what they can and can't do. This means that the GM has to fill in even the most simple of things constantly. .

Then the Hangman Campaign was run. This worked very well I removed a couple of more bugs rearranged the damage of the weaponry and reduced firearms damage. I always feel that firearms can make things all too simple for the players and the GM to kill things. I wanted games that would last longer than a gunshot but I like the feel of both forms of combat, melee and firearms only that firearms became too popular, coz' they're better. but not in my world. More than half of my players have never read more than 10% of this site. and in general in every game there will be people who have never picked up a RPG book there are also those who have read every page 100 times.

Two of the mega-cities(now undercities) were separated but a Demon-ground with Hangman being the last stop before the demon-ground starts. Hangman was an old west type of town complete with saloon and gunslingers. Here the ground work for the world started to take form. Not every player is going to read every note you have on a world they want to be immersed in it and then see what happens. If the customs of the world are too strange and foreign the player will be too lost for too long. So with a starting point that all could understand the world grew out from this point.

The next campaign started in a pure fantasy section of the world the characters then found more and more clues of what was just over the mountains, and then they were in it.

The current character sheet was developed and introduced. At last the GM didn't have to do all the number work, all of the short cuts on in the damage section were formalized and the player could finally see what was happening to them. The original magic section was rewritten and reintroduced.

Enter this web site the plan was so that I could Brief players in the magic rules before the next game. The magic is a bit complex to get started but once understood it's very simple. And I had always wanted to publish the system and get other people playing it so I decided to post everything..

Who Am I

I was first introduced to roleplaying by a neighbour. I generated a character but never played it. This was in 1984. Of course I had read the early choose your own adventure books and the like and played computer adventure games but didn't really get another chance to roleplay till a friend re-introduced me to it in '88 I played for a very short while then started to run games. I liked running and so I did. I ran many, many games. All the while improving the system we used, then I ran some more. By now the original system was a shadow of its former self and had become very much abused by the 'rule lawyers' of the group. So we changed systems I gave up running for a while and played but we ended up changing from system to system not finding one that worked. So I started to write this one. That was around 92'. I played other systems I ran mine, I ran other systems and never got to play mine!. Anyway that's where it all star ted...



See Also

Early System An earlier version of the

Main Menu back the way you came.