GRIMOIRE Development Post #5

The development of GRIMOIRE has made some significant steps towards my vision for this solo authoring game over the past few weeks. In this post, I will outline the major changes which will allow you to play GRIMOIRE with the upcoming overhaul to the game. You will require the base game as this post modifies rules outlined there. You can download this for free from itch.

Due to some of the changes described the below and the base prompts lacking modification to suit these changes, the following conditions should be acknowledged:

  • If you are required to respond to a journal prompt for a card in which you have responded to all available journal prompts, that card is immediately discarded. If it is a face card, it will discard the entirety of your spell set too.
  • If you are required to reduce or extend the number of cards used in a Quest, instead respond to the face card prompt of the spell again for extension or skip the card prompt for reduction.
  • Ignore consequences that state Gain a Friend/Foe in journal prompts.

The following rules supersede the rules written in the GRIMOIRE Ashcan Edition. These are a draft and will likely be tweaked based on feedback from playtesting and organised in a more user-friendly manner, however it should provide an insight into how the complete version of GRIMOIRE will play.

Starting the Game

The face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are to be separated and stored face down as an independent deck. Draw the top card and play it to the table – this will be the beginning of your first spell when the game starts.

Creating Your Wizard

To create your wizard, you may ignore the drive, flaw, and commune tables in GRIMOIRE, however you may find them helpful for grounding the identity of your wizard. Instead, you will assign values to suits and create friends and foes that will also be assigned suits. Finally, you will determine an overall goal that drives your wizard to undertake magical research.

Values

Your wizard’s values are how they see the world. In the final version of GRIMOIRE, these values will be changed throughout the course of play, however, they are static in this current rule set.

A single, different value is assigned to each suit: hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades.

Pick a value for each suit and write the pair down somewhere for you to remember. If you cannot think of any, you can roll on the following d66 table to generate four values.

d66Valuesd66Valuesd66Values
11Authenticity31Contribution51Influence
12Achievement32Creativity52Justice
13Adventure33Curiosity53Kindness
14Authority34Determination54Knowledge
15Autonomy35Duty55Leadership
16Balance36Faith56Love
21Beauty41Fame61Loyalty
22Boldness42Friendships62Peace
23Compassion43Growth63Pleasure
24Challenge44Happiness64Security
25Community45Honesty65Wealth
26Competency46Humour66Wisdom

Example: You might make the following rolls on the above table: 21, 33, 41, 64 and then prompt assign these values to the following suits:

  • Hearts – Beauty
  • Diamonds – Curiosity
  • Spades – Fame
  • Clubs – Security

Goal

This is the overall objective your wizard is trying to achieve – it is what drives them to research magic. The completion of this goal marks a positive end to the game. The goal will be tracked as a set of face cards that you may add to by completing spells.

A goal should be achievable through the research of magic and the creation of spells. Each time you add to the goal set, if the added card is the first card or has a matching suit in the set, then your wizard has made progress! You should include a description of how this spell has or will provide progress in the goal within the journal prompts.

Once there are three cards with matching suits in the goal, your wizard has found success. The final prompt should describe how all of this finally helped your wizard find success.

Currently, you are required to develop your own goal, however you can use the sample goal below. The final version of GRIMOIRE will include various goals for each research location and may be tied to suggested values.

Sample Goal: Overthrow the current regime in the City of Athanasia.

Friends and Foes

Your wizard will make enemies and sometimes friends of either individuals or groups. These are relationships that have reoccurring instances in the story of which your wizard has four slots that can track the most important relationships. Each slot is represented by a card suit and has a series of journal prompts that support or debilitate your wizard through their journey.

Whenever you have an available slot and are responding to a journal prompt, if another character is present in the narrative, they will fill an empty slot of your choice, or whichever is available. Friends can be assigned to either Hearts or Diamonds, whereas Foes can be assigned to either Spades or Clubs.

If no slot is available, then you disregard the instruction but be sure to use this in your journal response. Why did they not become a friend/foe?

Your wizard starts the game with two friend and two foes. Decide on a name for each and write a sentence fragment to describe how your relationship began. Use this process when you gain more friend and foes as described above.

Example: Hearts – Brandor Leezix, we were both the only wizards in town worth our ink.

Sample slots with prompts are below. You should use these for now, however the final version of GRIMOIRE will likely have several sets to choose from for your playthrough.

Hearts (friend)
1You sat for tea with a friend that closely listens. What did you rant about?
Remove 1 Wound.
2Your friend made time for you, but they seemed distracted. Why did you not notice?
Remove 1 Wound.
3The only thing left at your friend’s home was a satchel of tea and a note. What did the note say?
Remove 1 Wound and Remove this Friend.
Diamonds (friend)
1You take a stroll through the park with a friend. How did you convince them to fund your project?
Gain 1 Coin.
2Your friend seems excited for your progress. What did you tell them about your research?
Gain 1 Coin.
3Your friend seems exasperated as your explain your research. Why have they lost interest?
Gain 1 Coin and Remove this Friend.
Spade (foe)
1Your foe snickers as they walk past. What do you feel self-conscious about?
Gain 1 Wound.
2Your foes has a loud audience who fall silent when they notice you. What lie was your foe telling them?
Gain 1 Wound.
3Your foe arrived alone at your tower in the middle of the night. Why will they not bother you in the future?
Gain 3 Coin and Remove this Foe.
Clubs (foe)
1Your foe cornered you in a back alley. How did you escape?
Gain 1 Wound.
2Your foe attacked you in broad daylight. How did you hold them back?
Gain 1 Wound.
3You had a plan ready for when your foe attacked you. What was it?
Gain 3 Coin and Remove this Foe.

How to Create a Spell

A spell in GRIMOIRE is represented by a series of cards called a set. Once a set is complete, the spell is considered complete.

To begin a set, a face card must be played to the table (you begin the game with one played). This card will determine how many spell-points the set must equal for the spell to be complete. If a spell would ever exceed the number of spell-points required, discard all cards related to that spell – you have failed to comprehend the humming of the ley lines.

  • Jack = 11 spell-points
  • Queen = 12 spell-points
  • King = 13 spell-points

The first number card (A-10) added to the set determines the words of power. To find the words of power you open your chosen reading book to a random page and look for a number of words in sequence equal to the rank of the card played to the set. These words should be written down so they can be remembered.

Once the value of each number card sums to the required number of spell points (Ace is 1), the spell is complete. The last number card added to the spell determines which value of your wizard is used as a lens to interpret the words of power. Using the value, apply meaning to the sequence of words, rearrange the words, or drop words until you are satisfied with the meaning of the spell.

Write down what this spell does and create a name for the spell. Preface the spell name with something cool like “Invocation of-“.

Once the spell is complete, discard all cards in the set except the face card which is added to the goal set at the top of the table.

How to Create a Glyph

As a set grows so will the glyph. The initial face card of a set determines the base shape of the glyph according to the shape table below.

You should sketch the vertices of this shape using the sigil shape determined by the next card added to the set and the sigil table below.

Finally, the third card added to the set will determine how you connect each sigil to form the base shape using the connection table below.

Any cards added to a set after the third require the player to add something to the glyph of their own creation. This could be an extra base shape copy inside the glyph or extra details on the connections – whatever feels natural. However, the space in the centre of the base shape should be left mostly free to allow the player to draw a diagram in once the function of the spell has been determined.

Finally, the name of the spell is written at the top of the glyph.

Shape Table
JTriangle (3 vertices)
QDiamond (4 vertices)
KPentagon (5 vertices)
Sigil Table
AHeart
2Diamond
3Star
4Triangle
5Eye
6Cog
7Spike
8Leaf
9Bell
10Finger
Connection Table
AArrow
2Straight line
3Curved Line
4Waves
5Criss Cross
6Spiral
7Graduated line
8Twisting Vines/Snakes
9Square Wave
10Dotted Line

Actions

Each turn, you can now select one of the following actions instead of just RESEARCH and QUEST.

Discover

You purchase a magical artefact from a merchant or fellow wizard.

  1. Remove 2 Coin.
  2. Draw and play a face card.

Research

You conduct research into the humming of the ley lines with the hopes to translate a new spell.

  1. Draw a card from the deck.
  2. Choose on the following:
    • Play a card to an existing spell set.
    • Gain 1 Corruption and discard the card.
  3. Respond to the prompt generated with that card.

Quest

You venture out into the world to support your studies on a particular spell.

  1. Remove 1 Coin
  2. Select a spell set for which you will Quest to find something to add to your spell.
  3. Choose one of the following:
    • Select a card from the discard pile to add to the spell and remove all other cards in the discard pile from the game.
    • Draw 3 cards from the deck and select 1 to add to the spell while discarding the remaining 2.
    • Note: You must discard the chosen card if you do not add it to the spell.
  4. Respond to each quest prompt generated by the cards in that spell from left to write beginning with the face card and including the new card.
    • You may find it helpful to write down the prompts in your journal as headings to help you weave it into a narrative.
    • The most recent card will describe where you end up, this should include something that helps you understand the spell you are researching.

Consort

You take to the world outside of your study to hopefully meet with a friend.

  1. Draw a card from the deck.
  2. Use the suit of the card to determine which friend/foe you find. If no friend/foe has been assigned to that slot, then discard the card and terminate this action.
  3. Discard the card.
  4. Respond to the prompt generated with that card and the respective friend/foe prompt table.

Perform

You are desperate for coin, so you take on menial work to gain some.

  1. Draw a card from the deck.
  2. If the suit of the drawn card matches the last card added to a spell, discard both cards, otherwise only discard the drawn card.
  3. Gain 1 Coin.

Heal

You are wounded and require aid, so you purchase healing services or materials.

  1. Remove 1 Coin.
  2. Remove 1 Wound.

Final Thoughts

I highly recommend that you read through the entirety of these rule modifications. Though each rule is simple, each has a place in the game and can lead to some disastrous consequences later in the game. Keep in mind that jokers behave the same so by discarding cards through perform, you are increasing the chances of ending the game before you can accomplish your goal. Though Research is free, you are risking corruption if you do not like the card and though Quest provides more options, it tends to be filled with more dangerous prompts and has an initial cost.

The next steps for GRIMOIRE will be to collect feedback from my play testers and anyone else who is kind enough to provide their thoughts. Using this feedback, I will modify the rules and publish them in the GRIMOIRE format on the itch page for all current owners of the Ashcan Edition.

If you find yourself playing GRIMOIRE, I would love to hear your thoughts on these changes. You can comment on this post, comment on the itch page, or tweet at me.

One thought on “GRIMOIRE Development Post #5

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