Project Recreo – Magic, Take 2 #NaGaDeMon

Featured Image is Spellbook by James Schofield

So I fell down in another wiki hole recently and realized that the mythos behind Alpha Omega was actually rooted in occult history of the 19th & 20th Centuries, and then adapted to a futuristic setting. It had me thinking maybe I should use a tarot deck rather than a standard playing deck for action resolutions. Not sure though…

I fell down the wiki hole while I was trying to do some research on developing suitable magic system for this game. I’m gonna take what I thought of in the first article on magic and adapt it a little further with help from a great game called Ars Magica. So here’s the second attempt:

  • Magic spells will be concocted using elements/components that the magic-wielder has already learned.
  • A 2 component spell will be any Easy action, 3 components will be Average, 4 components will be Hard, etc…
  • Magic-wielders can choose the number of components, they know at character creation, equal to their highest Spiritual Aspect.
  • Which components they can choose initially is dependent upon which Aspects they have.

Here is an updated list of components and which Aspect they are available to:

Universal Components (usable by all 3 magic wielders, Nature/Arcane/Divine)

  • Create
  • Destroy
  • Transform
  • Control
  • Reveal
  • Propel
  • Increase
  • Multiply
  • Combust

Unique Components (only available to the Aspects in parenthesis)

  • Atmosphere (Arcane/Nature)
  • Earth (Nature)
  • Energy (Arcane)
  • Fluids (Arcane/Nature)
  • Fauna (Nature)
  • Body (Arcane/Divine)
  • Psyche (Arcane/Divine)
  • Soul (Divine)
  • Flora (Nature)
  • Light (Divine)
  • Dark (Divine)


So say a magic wielder wanted to cast a fireball at someone. That would need in its simplest form these components: Create, Energy, and Propel. Which would make it of Average difficulty to cast. Now say they wanted it to explode in the person’s face, they would need to add Combust as another component, thus increasing the difficulty. Or say they wanted to have it be larger to hit more targets they would need to add Multiply, and again increasing the difficulty.

Initial Thoughts

I think this system will be very narrative from the beginning as I play test it. It could become crunchier prettier easily but I want to encourage creativity in players, so we’ll see how that balances.

Project Recreo – Pregen characters, part 2 #NaGaDeMon

Featured Image is Fierce Edge by Manthos Lappas

Evoluu Shaman

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 2 (Acuity 3, Willpower 3)
  • Physical 1 (Agility 2, Stamina 2)
  • Spiritual 3 (Nature 5)


  • Animism (Advanced)
  • Cunning (Basic)
  • Detection (Basic)
  • Espionage (Basic)
  • Ranged Weapons (Basic)
  • Survival (Advanced)
  • Vehicles (Basic)


  • J – Commune with Nature (when casting next Animal Spell, increase your Natura Skill by one level)
  • Q – Muscles of Steel (gain one Physical during the next action)
  • K – Use My Extra Limb (redraw one card)

Heritage Traits

  • Prehensile Tail – +1 to Fitness & Cunning Skill actions
  • Immunities – immune to radiation or natural poisons


  • Components
    • Control
    • Earth
    • Fauna
    • Multiply
    • Reveal


  • TBA

Grigori-touched Avenger

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 2 (Acuity 3)
  • Physical 2 (Agility 3, Stamina 3)
  • Spiritual 4 (Divine 6)


  • Cunning (Basic)
  • Faith (Advanced)
  • Fitness (Basic)
  • Melee Combat (Basic)
  • Survival (Basic)
  • Trade (Basic)


  • J – Blessed Wings (decrease the difficulty by 1 when you use the Fitness skill)
  • Q – Channel Divine Power (gain Light or Fire component at no increase to the next spell you cast)
  • K – Luck From Heaven (redraw one card in an action)

Heritage Traits

  • Divine Messenger – you gain wings and can fly.
  • Immunities – immune to poisons
  • Weaknesses – cannot gain mutations or cybernetics, and may only cast divine spells.


  • Components
    • Transform
    • Light
    • Body
    • Destroy
    • Increase
    • Multiply


  • TBA

Project Recreo – Pregen characters for playtesting, part 1 #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Laying Low by Maik Beiersdorf

I finally have a name for this project (rather than just #NaGaDeMon), at least to use through early playtesting. I’m going to call it Project Recreo, which means resurrect in Latin. Thank you Sue, for your input!

This article though is going to outline some of the pre-generated characters I’m going to use in the early playtesting sessions. Here’s what I am thinking the initial options will be:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Walking Computer

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 4 (Intellect 5, Acuity 5)
  • Physical 2 (Strength 3, Agility 3)
  • Spiritual 1


  • Academia (Basic)
  • Detection (Basic)
  • Military (Basic)
  • Ranged Weapons (Basic)
  • Science (Advanced)
  • Technology (Advanced)


  • J – Increase Speed (flip one of your used action tokens)
  • Q – Analyze Enemy (force opponent to draw one less card in next re-draw)
  • K – Search the Net (decrease target number of next test by one)

Heritage Traits

  • Cybernetic Eye – +1 re-draw when using Ranged Weapons
  • Immunities – immune to poisons, radiation, psionics, and mind-altering magic.
  • Weaknesses – Susceptible to hacking, cannot use magic


  • None


  • TBA

Bio-engineered (BE) Companion

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 3 (Acuity 4, Willpower 4)
  • Physical 3 (Agility 4, Stamina 4)
  • Spiritual 1


  • Detection (Advanced)
  • Fine Arts (Basic)
  • Fitness (Basic)
  • Parley (Advanced)
  • Trade (Basic)
  • Vehicles (Basic)


  • J – Aid Benefactor (give +1 draw to ally during next action)
  • Q – Fluid Genes (reduce target number of next physical action by one)
  • K – Rally Friends (decrease ally wound level by one)

Heritage Traits

  • Designer Gene – Pain Tolerance (operates at one level higher than default wound level)
  • Weaknesses – Cannot use magic, cannot procreate


  • None


  • TBA

Nephalim-born Spy

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 2 (Acuity 3, Willpower 3)
  • Physical 4 (Strength 5, Stamina 5)
  • Spiritual 1


  • Cunning (Basic)
  • Espionage (Basic)
  • Fitness (Advanced)
  • Melee Combat (Advanced)
  • Ranged Weapons (Basic)
  • Survival (Basic)


  • J – Reinforce Armor (gain an additional +1 to armor)
  • Q – Full Throttle (draw one additional card in your next action)
  • K – Stars Align (chose a number, that number is considered a success during this action)

Heritage Traits

  • Alien Gift – Nephalim Strength (once per session, decrease the target number for a Strength-based action)
  • Immune to poisons and radiation
  • Weak to psionics
  • Can only cast divine spells


  • None


  • TBA

Human Arcana-Wielder

Abilities & Aspects

  • Mental 2 (Intellect 3, Willpower 3)
  • Physical 1 (Agility 2, Stamina 2)
  • Spiritual 3 (Arcane 5)


  • Academia (Advanced)
  • Arcana (Advanced)
  • Cunning (Basic)
  • Detection (Basic)
  • Fine Arts (Basic)
  • Parley (Basic)
  • Science (Basic)
  • Trade (Basic)


  • J – Hamper Opponent (cause an opponent to draw one less card on their next action)
  • Q – Boost Magic (add an additional component to spell without increasing the spell difficulty)
  • K – Clever Insight (ask the GM a yes or no game-related question that must be answered truthfully)

Heritage Traits

  • One free piece of equipment
  • Humans can gain mutations and cybernetics during game play, but not at character creation


  • Components
    • Create
    • Energy
    • Control
    • Propel
    • Multiply
    • Fluids (provided by Ancient Book of Water Magic)


  • Ancient Book of Water Magic (provides the Fluids component for trained magic wielders)

More options to come…

In the next installment I’ll work on these two pre-generated character options

  • Evoluu Shaman
  • Grigori-touched Avenger

Magic or scientific mysticism?!?! #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Grand Armillary by Emilio Grasso

I want magic to be very different in this game. As the game is set in a science fiction setting I believe it needs to execute differently than the spell list, spells per day, etc. form of magic as exemplified in the world’s most popular RPG. The title of this article gives some semblance of how maybe magic could be defined in the future. But how will that look game mechanics wise? I was mulling around with it being based in components and elements. So a PC would learn different “parts” of magic that would allow them to “create” a spell. So say a PC wants to cast a fireball, in this implementation, they would need to know how to create fire, create a ball, project it over a distance, and have it explode where it lands. So I’d hazard these different components/elements could be called:

  • Fire
  • Shape
  • Throw
  • Explosion

As you add each component, it would make the spell more difficult to cast. So a one component spell will be easier to cast than a two, three, four, etc. and maybe some components are harder to caste than others? So here’s a tentative spell component list:

  • Water
  • Earth
  • Fire
  • Air
  • Life
  • Shape
  • Wind
  • Throw
  • Explosion
  • Pierce
  • Pin
  • Touch
  • Time
  • Thought
  • Seek
  • Other ideas?!?!

A newly created magic user PC would be able to select maybe 3 starting components, and then as they gain in experience gain more components, and/or have the ability to make the components get more potent (increase damage, range, potency, etc)

Then there is creating the differences between the 3 “schools” of magic I’ve introduced earlier, i.e. arcana, divine, natura. How do I clearly define them and make them distinct from each other?

Arcana is studied/learned magic

Divine is magic given by the gods

Natura is an innate magic present in all living things (including PCs).

Now the reality of trying to combine the two ideas; spell components and different magic focus areas. That’s the growing area I’m still contemplating. Any ideas?

Setting the mood – art inspirations #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is by Danny Kundzinsh

Here is some artwork that I feel sets the right tone in atmosphere.

Final Check by Ismael Inceoglu
Ketevan Dji (mutated) by Sikarbi
Possession – Tinkering by Riana Moller
Across The Divide by JM-Henry
Heavenly Warrior by Ariel Flores
Through the Breach by Darek Zabrocki
Portfolio Slug by Riana Moller

Heritage traits #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Storm by Mavrosh

In determining how I wanted to handle heritages; i.e. different options for base Abilities, Aspects, and Skills, I determined I need another way to give uniqueness to each heritage tradition. So in comes Heritage traits. Here we can add some additional factors that can’t be summed up in other places. And here is my initial list of ideas:


One free piece of equipment

Humans can gain mutations and cybernetics during game play, but not at character creation

Weaknesses – susceptible to poisons


One free mutation, chosen from Mutations list. Examples:

  • Tough Skin – +1 to Armor vs melee attacks
  • Prehensile Tail – +1 to keeping balance, +1 to jumping, +1 to sleight of hand, or ???
  • Claws – allows unarmed melee attack +1
  • Cat Eyes – grants ability to see in low light conditions
  • Gills – allows breathing underwater
  • Acid Breath – allows ranged poison attack

Immunities – immune to radiation or natural poisons


One free cybernetic enhancement, chosen from Cybernetics list. Examples:

  • Cybernetic arm – allows unarmed melee attack +1 or +1 to weapon based melee attack
  • Cybernetic hand – +1 to Agility based non-combat Skill
  • Digital brain – +1 to Academia, Technology, or Science Skills
  • Cybernetic legs – increased speed and movement
  • Iron Lung – +1 vs exhaustion effects

Immunities – immune to poisons, radiation, psionics, and mind-altering magic.

Weaknesses – Susceptible to hacking, cannot use magic


Gain one designer gene, chosen from the Designer Genes list. Examples:

  • Gain immunity to one specific type of effect (such as poisons, radiation, psionics, etc…)
  • Gain a +1 to an Aspect of your choice
  • Gain +1 to a Skill of your choice

Weaknesses – Cannot use magic, cannot procreate


Gain one godsend from the Godsends list. Examples:

  • Divine Messenger – you gain wings and can fly.
  • Holy Avenger – gain a lightning ranged attack.
  • Voice of the Gods – you gain +1 to your Parley skill.
  • Curse the Unbeliever – cause an opponent to draw one less card from a chosen Aspect.
  • Fear Monger – strike fear in an opponent, causing them to have a -1 to a Skill.

Immunities – immune to poisons

Weaknesses – cannot gain mutations or cybernetics, and may only cast divine spells.


Gain one legacy from the Alien Legacies list. Examples:

  • Nephalim blood
  • Nephalim strength
  • Nephalim stamina
  • Nephalim senses
  • Nephalim speed

Immunities – immune to poisons and radiation.

Weaknesses – especially susceptible to psionics, and can only cast divine spells.


*On 11-21-2018 changed Remnant to Evoluu*

Layout – which came first, the chicken or the egg? #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Date Night by Lyraina

Okay so I was just starting to think about layout once I get to the point of compiling all these disparate thoughts into one tome. And I was like hey what’s the best way to start off the book? I’ve seen it done many different ways. My instinct, because this is the type of gamer I am, is to have the world building text up front. I really love reading the cultural and historical framework for a game first, before delving into mechanics. But maybe that’s because I truly love reading people’s fantastical ideas. And then I was thinking it would be good to discuss basic mechanics, so then when one comes to character creation they already know layout of the world and the basics of the rules so they can create a character they know where to fit it in thematically (through world text) and abstractly (through rules). So my thoughts were to layout the document roughly this way:

    World text
    Basic rules (which includes combat)
    Character creation
    Extra areas such as gear & magic
    GM specific area

What do you think gamers? How have you best interact with RPG rulebooks? What have you found to be the best layout wise?

What’s in a (gaming) name? #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Alchemist’s desire by Gothicpagan

I’ve been mulling over what the name of this project should be. I’ve been playing off the Alpha Omega name. I like that it is using a theologically derived name that honestly can play really well in a supernatural post-apocalyptic setting. Also I was thinking having a name that could also be useful if the system is adaptable to other settings. I also decided that I should use names from either constructed (Esperanto) or dead (Latin) languages, so as to avoid upsetting anyone with a mistranslation. Here’s my initial research.

Esperanto derivatives:

  • Revivigi – resurrect
  • Unua/Lasta – first/last
  • Vivo/Morto – life/death
  • Nova Komenco – new beginning
  • Komenco/Fino – beginning/end
  • Nova Fino – new end

Latin derivatives:

  • Primus/Novissimus – first/last
  • Principium/Finis – beginning/end
  • Primus/Ultimus – The First/The Last
  • Genesis/Mortem – birth/death
  • Recreo – resurrect
  • Initium Novum – new beginning
  • Genesis Ultima – the last creation

I’m leaning towards “Nova Fino,” “Recreo,” “Primus/Ultimus,” or “Genesis Ultima” right now. But I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this subject too. What do you think? Do you have some other suggestions that I should consider?

Powers aka special card effects #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Derelict Machines by John F Stifter

Back in my Character Basics blog entry I talked a little about Powers (what I initially called talents). Powers are special effects that will trigger based upon specific cards being present when the final draw of a test is determined. This means that Powers will not trigger until successes are being counted, and the specified royal cards had not already been discarded. A PC will have 3 Power slots that will each contain one Power. The Powers in each slot can change throughout the game by player choice. The 3 slots are:

  • “J” Slot
  • “Q” Slot
  • “K” Slot

Here is a start to the list of Powers that can be obtained by PCs:

  • Flip one action token
  • Draw an extra card
  • Redraw one card
  • Increase magic effect one step
  • Specific number is now consider a success
  • Allow another to draw one card on their next action
  • Allow another to redraw one card on their next action
  • Increase your Armor score by one
  • Opponent needs one higher difficulty to succeed at hitting you
  • Opponent draws one less card on their next action
  • Opponent has one less redraw on their next action
  • Gain insight – ask the GM a question pertinent to the situation that the GM must answer truthfully, or gain a weakness bonus vs opponent
  • Turn a negative (❤️♦️) card into a positive (♣️♠️) card

I’m trying to think of other options, got any suggestions?

I’m also thinking it would be fun to have players describe these Powers for themselves based upon their heritage but also on their own personal design of their character. Like if the character is a Remnant, and has the “Draw an extra card” Power, calling it “Use my extra limb.”

Action economy #NaGaDeMon

Featured image is Mecha silhouette by Ryu Saranyawut

“I roll to hit.”


“Again. I rolled a 14.”

“You failed to hit. Again.”

In thinking about combat I wondered if there was a way to incorporate more diversity of actions, than what combat seems to boil down to in the end, “I roll to attack…” so I thought what if I could incorporate using some sort of mechanism that would encourage players to try different things throughout combat, and I came upon this idea… what if a player had a certain number of action tokens (poker chips) that they could use, that would enforce using different actions, and would not be replenished until all actions were completed? What would that look like? Okay so I’m borrowing this from some board games, but I like the idea. So let’s run with it. Here’s what I’m thinking will be the primary Action Tokens:

  • Maneuver/Move
  • Attack (Melee, Ranged, or Magic)
  • Activate Heritage Trait
  • Other Skill/Spell (non-move/non-attack)
  • Pause/Replenish Actions

A player will have physical tokens (poker chips maybe) that represent these actions. Each round a player will declare what they are doing by showing their token. Everyone will show their chosen tokens at the same time. Once an Action Token has been used it cannot be used again until they play their Pause/Replenish Actions. What are your thoughts on this idea? Do you have any thoughts on other possible action tokens?