I recognize that most readers won't be able to decipher the title. It uses the futhorc, Anglo-Saxon runes, and reads, roughly Weardcynn, or wuh-ARD-kin. It is the current culmination of my system and setting development efforts over the last several years.
I have several design goals here:
- Incorporate my effort-based mechanics system into a cohesive product with its own recognizable identity.
- Incorporate a Blakean alt-mythology into the foundation of the otherwise post-post-apocalyptic setting, and connect that with mechanical touchpoints in the system via Blakean tarot cards.
- Ground magic and mysticism in pagan practice and sensibilities, especially through herbs, mushrooms, elements, and animist views that require negotiation with local spirits and which are bound to specific places.
- Reduce humanity to small players in a world that has grown big around them, amplifying the sense of danger and wonder.
- Explore the depths of lost and displaced Old English words via reapplication, neologism, and back construction.
What I'm not interested in:
- History or historical realism. While I care how Old English words were used, I don't need the accompanying cultural weight, because I'm building forward, not going back. This is not a history of any people. It just borrows (and occasionally butchers) their terms.
- Reinventing racism, sexism, homophobia, and various current and historical social evils. Might those plausibly exist in the setting? Probably. But they will never be mentioned in the implied setting or the mythological supplements, especially in player-facing or playable ways. Don't look for them here.
- Amplifying existing racism. The reclamation and re-appropriation of both Old English and the runes that formed its pre-Latin writing system should not be construed in any way as support for the various Nazi and adjacent movements that also try to lay claim to these ideas.
- Coddling players or GMs. Y'all can handle unfamiliar words whose meanings can be revealed via context. And there will be many unfamiliar words, even though Old English is perhaps equal parts familiar and foreign. You can have as much fun butchering the language as I am. But I will provide some rough pronunciation guides.
The Implied Setting
This takes place in a far-future earth, well after the Weardcynn, the new champions of the earth, arose and deposed humanity, knocking it from its dominant perch. Humanity has been reduced to small, very local communities surrounded by gulfs of hostile wilderness patrolled by the Weardcynn. For their part, the Weardcynn have been tasked with keeping humanity in check until they can join in proper unity with the rest of creation.
The wilds are full of spirits, magically active plants, and all manner of beasts, from mundane descendants of those familiar to us all the way to new, fantastic creatures. And the Weardcynn range from the Wodecynn in their forests and Stonecynn in their mountain homes to the various Deorcynn who prowl the spaces between what's left of humanity.
Development Progress and Next Steps
I have finished a tentative outline of the rules, which cover the basics of rolling the dice in the effort-based system, character creation, and tools for GMs to get started. While the rules are fairly light and can follow logically from one another, there is a lot still to do on the creative front. I am busy developing world flavor through spells (wyrdwegas in my parlance), which offer the clearest views into how the world works. As I make progress on those, I will post them here and discuss my design thinking.
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