“Can I make the grease flammable?”
— Nicolas Carrier, Unnatural 20
Player agency is at the very core of Midgard Epic: The House Rules govern the style of play, and are designed to ensure that every action you commit to the world will have its consequence. Sometimes that might not be death… it might be much worse:
- If someone yells stop, taps out, goes limp, the night is over. The “Are We Having Fun Yet” Rule. If you’re not having fun and you’re not excited, something is wrong and needs fixing.
- Nights will go on as long as they have to. The Bear Is Driving? Rule. if you have to be somewhere at time X, please tell me at the start of play so I can cliffhanger your ass accordingly. It is you who will be the one escaping.
- If this is your first night, you have to fight. The “Let Me Dicksplain” Rule. New players will be dropped straight into the action. We will not slow down for you. But don’t worry, The current protagonist will explain everything.
- Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The “Enough Rope” Rule. I say yes to almost everything and take great pleasure in doing so. What this really means is that you cannot get away clean from anything.
- In the absence of a net force, a body either is at rest or moves in a straight line with constant speed. The “I’m RIGHT HERE” Rule. I take notice of everything you do. It is not difficult. I am sat directly across from you. This cuts both ways though. If I’ve made a mistake, call me on it.
- If the entropy of each element in some (perfect) crystalline state be taken as zero at the absolute zero of temperature, every substance has a finite positive entropy; but at the absolute zero of temperature the entropy may become zero, and does so become in the case of perfect crystalline substances. The “Immovable Rod Is Immovable” Rule. An extension to rules 4 and 5. I will occasionally ask you to confirm a given course of action. Sometimes, I will ask you twice.
- No shirts, no shoes. The “Epic Trumps Everything” rule. If you are about to kick the bucket, if you have nothing left but a rusty dagger and a gleam in the eye, the most cinematic, most out and out epic course of action is the one most likely to save you.
“We boil the dead goblins down and pour the goo into our ears.”
— Jill Munro, Crit Miss
In addition, Midgard operates with some actual Deviations from the rules as written. There aren’t many of them, but they’re here:
- Unnatural 20. You always crit on a 20, and fumble on a 1, and so does everyone else. No confirmation, no half-measures. Success or failure, this should be something somehow relating to the character’s theme if possible. If you want to, you may elect to make a skill or stat check instead of doing additional damage on a crit.
- Are we the Baddies? Alignment is subjective, more or less. No-one thinks that they’re the bad-guy, but if your Paladin has good reason to think that the hulking bugbear is evil, it might as well be for all rule-based reasons. Is this racist? Yes. Welcome to western fantasy.
- Eye of Newt. If you’re a spell caster of some kind (there are a few of them about) I’ll give you an extra +1 to your casting DC for the use of a creative (and relevant) spell component that you gathered ahead of time.
- Sand In Your Eye of Newt. The same +1 rule applies to combat manoeuvres.
- A Hop, A Skip, And A Jump. Teleport spells are heftily nerfed in Midgard. Teleport works out to 5 miles per level, Greater Teleport functions as the description for Teleport, Greater Teleport is now a 9th level spell. If you want to get somewhere in a hurry, you’re going to have to find another way.
- What Are This?. The Identify spell is also nerfed. If you want it, ask me how.
- We Were Dead Anyway Spellcasters – if you desperately need to be able to cast something you’ve already burnt out, Fighters- if you need just a handful of temporary hit points, you may invoke this rule. I will hurt you harder than you have ever been hurt, but I will give you the cost up front. If you were all dead anyway, it might just be worth it.