My game’s laid down by the Underground

In the Triune forums, there’s a discussion about how the game handles changes to the setting. That discussion made me think about one of my favorite rpgs of all time and a big influence on Triune. But first, some explanations.

Every character is Triune has levels in the three paths: Heaven, Hell, and Hegemony. (Hypocrisy isn’t just for reality anymore!) If you have Heaven 4 / Hell 1 / Hegemony 2, that means you support Heaven the most, Hell the least, and you’re somewhat muddled about supporting the human government known as the Hegemony.To put it more clearly, you can play a Christian who has a small tendency towards the sin of Greed and has some influence in the Media.

Nations in Triune have levels just like characters. These represent what the society believes. The USA begins with Heaven 5 / Hell 5 / Hegemony 3. That means there’s a ton of Americans supporting Heaven, another ton supporting Hell, and a smaller but still somewhat significant group supporting the human government. (Pretty accurate, no?) Here’s what I think is special: Players can alter a society’s levels during the game.

If you roll a natural Critical Win–rolling 5d10 and succeeding on each die–then you can increase or decrease any level by one for the society you are currently in.  If your character is trying to capture a devil in the United States and you a natural Critical Win, you could increase the USA’s Heaven level to 6. In the end, if you raise levels high enough, you can get a society to seceed from the Hegemony and join your side.

I got this idea from Underground, a beautifully weird rpg from 1993. You play burned out, partially psychotic super heroes in LA in 2021. Neighborhoods in LA have several ratings, including Take Home Pay and Alcoholism. Adventures focus on improving these ratings, thereby improving the nieghborhood. I was struck by this–a game that lets you improve the game setting mechanically? Not just “Kill the orcs before they pillage the kingdom”? I can have long-term goals beyond leveling my character to badasshood?

I took the idea and modified it. Because Triune explores how people, society, and religion intereact, societies are rated in their faith tendencies. In Triune, you can affect the world. Your actions and decisions have mechanical remifications for the setting, and if you want, you could try to conquer the universe. Now that’s a long-term goal.

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