In Wicked Ones, we play to find out just how long some terrible monsters building a dungeon together can survive against the inevitable onslaught of heroism coming their way. In the process, we enjoy some crazy mayhem and chaos while getting to look at fantasy life from the darker side. We find out just why monsters need to hoard all that gold, who builds all those traps, and just how hard killing adventurers is. In short, we get to be monsters.
Players take on the roll of unapologetically evil creatures who have banded together to build a dungeon as a safe harbor from which to launch raids on the overworld. So the band begins the game in search of a lair, a safe space to launch raids from and a place to call home.
Their monstrous heritage means their very nature pushes them towards dark desires. Greed and malice grip their hearts and fuel them, which makes them strong as they don’t have the hang-ups of more civilized races. But this will also be their undoing. Wicked Ones is a game about finding out how far these dark desires can take these monsters before succumbing to them. Life as a monster is a sharp rise and a hard fall.
Wicked Ones is heavily inspired by Dungeon Keeper.
Some of the key features of Wicked Ones off the top of my head:
Your character starts with a flaw and gains more as they snap under the pressure of stress. The GM can invoke these flaws in game and if you follow-through with the action, you’re awarded with a Dark Heart die which you can spend to take +1d on any roll. This mechanic heavily encourages monsters not always doing what’s right.
You hoard gold from raids, which then increases the size of your dungeon. It grows over time as you add rooms and recruit minions. These are actually drawn out on a map classic dungeon style. Your raids generate terror, which eventually leads to notoriety and triggers an invasion of your dungeon by adventurers. You can build traps and locks to further hinder these. This Dungeon Defense phase plays out a bit like a board game.
As your dungeon grows, you open up new caverns which you can then build into dungeon rooms giving you bonuses and allowing you to shape the type of dungeon you want to make.
A new wounds / defense / conditions system makes combat slightly crunchier than BitD, which fits the fantasy tone of the game.
A very flexible magic system makes spellcasting fairly intuitive. When you take a magic ability, you choose a single magic path and declare your own spell effects on the fly. Spells cost stress to cast and are ranked from Tier 1 to Tier 3. You take a penalty to your action roll when trying to cast more powerful spells, meaning they are more dangerous and less likely to succeed but with awesome effects. Truly powerful magic is handled by rituals, which need preparation and special requirements.
Players decide a “dungeon goal”, something they want to work towards as a group that gives their dungeon meaning. This dungeon goal becomes an XP trigger.
There is a quite robust crafting system allowing you to make crazy monster inventions, alchemicals, potions, magic items, and more.
As your dungeon grows, you’ll get access to 3 types of minions: packs, specialists, and creatures. Creatures are unintelligent beings that inhabit your dungeon like a bat colony or giant spiders. Specialists have a specific skill which they can use during downtime. Packs are good at raiding the overworld for supplies. You can bring these packs and specialists along on raids with you as well. Minions tend to grumble when things don’t go well, which can lead to problems within your dungeon.
As your dungeon grows, you’ll find underground discoveries - ravines, lava, creatures, other denizens of the underworld, veins of gold, and so on.
9 Callings that represent different monster archetypes: Brute, Crafter, Conniver, Marauder, Shadow, Shaman, Tracker, Warlock, Zealot.
Most campaigns are naturally designed to last 16 sessions (4 months of weekly play), taking you from a Tier 0 to a Tier 4 dungeon. Of course, games can be much shorter than that as well. The dungeon starts small with the PCs hitting easy targets like farms, merchants on the road, and so forth. When they hit tier 1, they define a dungeon goal which propels the story forward as they work towards accomplishing it. At tier 3, they redefine the goal. At tier 4, their dungeon has likely accumulated a large amount of terror which triggers end game events (not written in the current doc) - something like a final battle with the forces of good trying to stop them as they cast a ritual to raise one of their own to demigodhood, a huge raid on a nearby keep driving the baron out of the lands for good, or a massive invasion of townsfolk on their dungeon as the townspeople just can’t take it any longer.
The game has been playtested quite a bit. I run two weekly games with it and am looking for people who might want to set up and run their own playtests. We play online on Discord using Google Sheets for our character sheets and Roll20 to draw out the dungeons. The dungeons have this kind of awesome emergent gameplay to them and take on a life of their own as they slowly grow session after session. Most sessions revolve around downtime and a raid on the overworld, with a dungeon invasion by adventurers occuring roughly every 4 session.
I’d also be very happy to get any thoughts or feedbacks on how I’ve set up the game. The doc itself is mostly meant to be functional for my playtesters - it’s not exactly meant for “public consumption”. There’s no design to it really, it’s very dryly written, etc. so please forgive the lack of it being cool looking. I’m working with an awesome artist to make a unique look for the game and we’re already about 30-40% done with the artwork for the planned 200-page 6x9in. book. It’ll look cool and monstery…someday.
Anyway, here’s all of the docs:
Core Rules: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1E3QROY_8Qs2RLzSbZD32LPgMyqVaaz817qD8AP_BPPo/edit?usp=sharing (Google Docs, comments enabled)
Sheets: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1C5_eQMDdu9fwX3w4QAlFkJ6LxsNUHb8Uo0tKiH95gtQ/edit?usp=sharing (Google Sheets)
PDF of rules and sheets: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/18KAn2oJ7F_z9yhMkYuGSuioFz1hNxOSD?usp=sharing
Feel free to join our discord if you want to get involved somehow! https://discord.gg/JcuExnC