Tuesday, September 4, 2018

"And Taborlin the Great said to the stone: BREAK! and the stone broke..." - Truenamer v.1

In the beginning, language and reality were indivisible. The word and the object were one and the same. Saying something, describing something, immediately brought it into being. As you can imagine, small-talk was exceptionally difficult. Nowadays, this ancient language has no bearing whatsoever on the flapping lip-noises the pretentious monkeys make. It's been locked away, for the good of everyone. The Authority no longer makes use of it, the angels are forbidden from touching the stuff. From now until the end of time, the fabric of reality is a solid bedrock upon which everyth- Oh. Oh it's you. Never mind then.

To a Wizard, it appears that you are seconds away from casting a spell with at least three Magic Dice. No physical effects. No one else will notice a thing. But to those that can see the truth of the world, you are blinding. You have no idea what all the fuss is about.

To a Cleric, you are beyond heresy. They can't even categorise you, they just hope you'll eventually blow yourself up.

To an angel or a devil, you are a lowly thief, an up-jumped cretin with access to ancient powers you are completely unworthy of, and they all want what you've got...


Starting equipment: shield, interesting book, additional language
Skill (1d3): Archivist, Runes, Angels

A Words of Power, Shatter Effect, 10 tiles

B  Lord over Lesser Tongues, 13 tiles

C  Favoured Word OR Modify Details, 16 tiles

D  Essence Abstraction, 20 tiles

Words of Power
You’ve somehow been infected by a tiny fragment of the language the Authority used to describe the world when it was first ordered. Technically just letters… for now. At the start of each day, pull random Scrabble tiles until you have a full "hand". If you spell out a noun or verb and it appears or happens to a target you can see. Saves may halve damage, durations might exist, but no matter what, it always happens. Truly ridiculous demands (WHALE) stain your soul, can reduce Goodness or even summon Paradox Angels. Those tiles go back into the bag once used.

The simpler the intended request, the less chance for unfortunate side-effects. The more tiles used, and hence specific your request, once again lessens the chance of unfortunate side-effects. Short, blunt, commands against the fabric of reality are likely to have your intentions twisted to require the least level of effectiveness. Vague commands should always be misinterpreted in the most interesting fashion. However, no matter what, a Truenamer's commands are always, always felt by the universe.

HOLE - Was cast on a large obsidian wall as the party attempted to escape a marauding golem. It tore a hole in reality, dumping them in a random room on the floor below.

GIANT RAY - Was cast at a group of bandits to prevent them from following down a small tunnel. Summoned a immense one of these:

Hello friend
FOOD - Caused all adjacent creatures to smell completely delicious.

Shatter Effect
Before you make a save against a spell, breath weapon or similar effect, sacrifice any number of tiles for an equivalent bonus. If you use more than 4 tiles, make a Dexterity check or be flung away and fall prone. The effect will be somewhat altered by your meddling, possibly resulting in a Mishap for the caster and you.

Lord over Lesser Tongues
You can cast Speak With Language by spending a tile. Everyone is likely to be confused by the situation. To clarify you aren't speaking a particular language, you are speaking to the concept of that language itself. In addition, you can sacrifice three tiles to pick one tile of your own choice.

Favoured Word
Pick a word or phrase you have cast before. You always get that word each morning, but lose a number of maximum tiles equal to it's length. When used in an uncertain or vague manner, halve any potential penalties. You can change it by experiencing a new aspect of reality in all it’s primal majesty. Tell the DM what you want. Experience grants knowledge. Knowledge grants control.

Modify Detail
You can roll Intelligence to add or replace letters within the names of effects cast where you can see. Costs tiles either way. Example: Magic Missile becomes Magic Fishile and is now trout-related. Acid Arrow becomes Flaccid Arrow, to obvious and humorous effect.

Essence Abstraction
If you spell out the name of an object you can see, you can add one, simple vowel for free by making a Charisma check. For example - "Stone, BREAK!"

By spelling out someone’s True Name you can cast Dominate, Charm or Disintegrate on them. Peasants and most animals will have one name, adventurers at least two names, and nobles three. Dragons and Gods will have four, five, more or none.


  1. Can you give an example of a situational use of the Words of Power ability that would end up working the way the user intended? I love free form systems like this, but I feel like we only have examples of uses that went kinda haywire.

    1. The Words of Power *always* work, and they will have an effect that will be, at worst, neutral. You say F I R E to the universe, and you get to pick one of a) how much and b) where. Only when players are trying to squeeze meaning out of nebulous words do you start messing them around. But not always! If they can pull off two or more words, just give it to them, fair and square.

      Here's a rule or three - if they have to explain extensively how the words they've spelt gives them a particular effect, don't give it to them. If they ask for something and are in a rush, give it to them, but more than what they bargained for. If they are respectful to the universal tampering they are doing, feel free to pay that right back!