Below is an introduction we’ve created for the upcoming playtest of our D&D 4E/Paranoia hybrid game, temporarily named Kingdom of Teria. It gives an idea of how the hybrid will work, and how Paranoia’s unique style will mesh with D&D’s fantasy rules. Comments are always welcome.
Kingdom of Teria Introduction Sheet
What you need to know about The Rules:
- This game is D&D 4E but you get to hurt, mess with, and kill each others’ characters
- 4E rules for combat, powers, hit points, saves, etc. are all untouched and work normally
- You will get a second, new class and some new powers that let you screw with your allies
- Everyone will be resurrected, repeatedly if necessary, so don’t worry–kill each other early and often
- You need to balance teamwork with backstabbing–you still have a quest to accomplish
- Spend ScrewU points to force someone to reroll dice
- When (not if) someone screws you over, don’t get mad–get even!
What you need to know about The Setting:
- Arcane magic is illegal in this setting, and using it is punishable by beheading
- Divine magic is not considered magic and is good
- You are a Knight and your job is to hunt down magic users and magic items
- Accusing people of using magic is a fun but dangerous pastime; accuse incorrectly and face the axe
- The entire world is ruled by High King Olaf the Holy under the Kingdom of Teria
- Subjects are either Peasants or Aristocrats; Peasants must obey the Aristocracy
- Secret, illegal fellowships exist; being a member is punishable by beheading
- Your character is a peasant and belongs to a fellowship
Big differences between this game and D&D:
- Players are encouraged to hurt and kill each others’ characters
- Arcane magic is illegal. Get caught using it and get executed.
- There are no wizards, warlocks, etc. (at least not publicly); same goes for magic items. Divine magic, however, is fine.
- ScrewU Points: Spend a point to force someone, even the GM, to reroll; get points from good roleplaying
Secret Fellowships Explained
- Arcane Staff: Magic-users of all kinds who research and practice the illegal art of arcane magic. Their ultimate goal is to dethrone the High King and rule Teria as a magical kingdom.
- Broken Throne: Idealist revolutionaries, they hate the High King and want to execute him and his entire royal bloodline, make all men Princes and redistribute the land equally.
- Oscar the Red: Followers of an ancient royal rival to the Olaf bloodline. They want to kill the High King and put a surviving blood relative to Oscar the Red on the throne.
- Empty Mug: These folk like to get drunk and break stuff. Sometimes their violence has an agenda, such as attacking the local lord and his aristocratic friends, but other times the violence is random.
- Golden Horde: Merchants, aristocrats, and criminals who worship gold. They always wants more coins, be it by thief or by merchant. They occasionally lend money but only with high interest rates.
- Believers: Mostly peasants who are fascinated by the Pantheon and the powers of divinity, including divinely-powered relics. While technically legal, these people go overboard and scare the Gods.
- Living God: Believes the High King is really the chief god of the Pantheon and must be worshipped above all gods and goddesses. The Gods hate this idea.
- Dark Guild: Bullies, killers, and would-be conquerors whose only goal is to gain power for their fellowship. Only evil people and creatures join the Dark Guild.
The Kingdom of Teria occupies the whole world. It is ruled by High King Olaf the Holy, the latest in a long line of Olafs who have ruled the kingdom for centuries. That means the current High King Olaf is inbred, mildly psychotic, occasionally deranged, and all powerful. However, his intentions are good. He sincerely wants his subjects to be happy, including the lowliest of peasants. It’s just that, because he’s insane, his methods are insane and consequently many loyal subjects are insane.
All of the Gods of Teria, including the evil ones, work together as the Pantheon. The Pantheon supports the Olaf bloodline as rulers of everywhere. In return, Olafs keep arcane magic illegal and worship mandatory. (Gods hate arcane magic because there’s no priestly middlemen involved in it.) If you are caught using magic, you will be executed. If you are accused of using magic, and your accusers are persuasive, you may be executed even though you did nothing wrong. The kingdom believes in a “better safe than sorry” approach.
Society is split into two parts: the peasantry and the aristocracy. Peasants are expected to obey the lords and ladies of the aristocracy at all times. The aristocracy is expected to protect the peasants. These expectations are even met on occasion.
Although Teria is unified, there are many factions. Secret fellowships exist that fight against the kingdom, some more obviously than others. Peasants hunger for the land and power of the aristocracy, leading to many accusations of magic use. The land is not civilized in all places, and monsters still roam the dark forests, swamps, old ruins and caves.
Your Role & Character
You play one of the High King’s elite guards–a knight of the Order of Knights Mundane. The Order was founded to enforce the decree that magic was forbidden. Since then, Knights have been sent on millions of quests to destroy magic items or arrest wizards and warlocks. Some of these quests have even succeeded.
Knights are simultaneously loved and feared. People love a good fight, and wherever Knights are found, a fight is never far away. Then again, Knights are given a difficult task and told to accomplish it or face torture. They also have sharp weapons. When a party of Knights enters a village, most people lock their doors and watch intently from behind drawn curtains. (Or, in the case of peasants, drawn thatch.)
People fear Knights for another reason: they fight amongst themselves all the time. Accusations of magic use are commonplace amongst Knights, as are fights, backstabs (both literal and figurative), and yes, magic use. This is tolerated because, to aide Knights on their dangerous quests, the Pantheon has given each a resurrection crystal. This divine relic burrows into a Knight’s chest and resides there permanently. When a Knight dies, the crystal activates automatically, resurrecting the Knight.
Your character has two classes: Normal and Hidden. The Normal class comes from the Player’s Handbook 1 and it determines all of your stats. The Hidden class is an additional one unique to Kingdom of Teria. This class only provides some fun powers that let you screw with other Knights.
Also, your character will have one magic item (which is illegal!) and will belong to a secret fellowship (again, illegal!). Do not share these with the other players! They will report you and you will be executed. Your fellowship will give you a secret quest, one which will give you bonus XP if you accomplish it. The secret quest might be at odds with your Knightly quest, or it may task you with the murder of your fellow Knights. So be it!