is a diceless Play By Post Roleplaying Game
set in an original fantasy world. It places a heavy emphasis on writing and character development over combat and leveling. The rules
strike a fair balance between being permissive enough to allow characters to be interesting from their time of creation and being just restrictive enough to prevent most Godmodding
The game was founded in February 2008 by major figures in a splinter community from another PBP
. As a result it has the close-knit, family feel of a much older game, complete with satellites
who stick around in chat
without actually participating in the game.
The game universe is a Low Fantasy
world drawn in about equal parts from the Standard Fantasy Setting
and Celtic Mythology
. It differs from High Fantasy
mostly in its absolute insistence on Grey and Gray Morality
, its by-in-large return to (largely European) folklore tropes over more recent fantasy fare
, and its position on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism
. The human lands, where most of the action takes place, consist of kingdoms
formed from the fragments of a dissolved Empire, which are prevented from all-out war with each other by their equally fragmented internal politics. The wealthy become involved in politics (which usually involves combat) or magic to cement their power, while the common folk live lives of toil and hardship. Even so, it's not a World Half Empty
all together: people help each other, communities scrape through hard times, and fate is capricious, rather than actively out to get you. It's more of a World Half Full
Unfortunately, as of 2011, this game seems to be defunct.
This game provides examples of:
- Another Dimension - Explored more thoroughly than usual for a fantasy story. In addition to the archetypal elemental planes, gods' planes and alternate realities, there are also separate planes of dreams for each race, two intersecting planes that form the Realm of Faerie, a five-plane-spanning Cosmarchy that has invaded Adylheim in the past, and more.
- Anti-Magic - Thunderstone, though it is very rare. On the less rare side, faerie magic and some non-racial magic is disrupted by iron, and the incorporeal undead are still harmed by silver.
- Bizarrchitecture - One of the largest cities was designed by a group of mad architects, which is why the entire city was built as a prayer to the gods and includes both a Living Labyrinth, as the underground network of caves is constantly changing and the occasional Alien Geometries
- Celtic Mythology - One of the larger influences on the game, including The Fair Folk and The Wild Hunt.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus - Some of the Dragonkin religious sects are obviously influenced by different Christian ideas, though there are obvious Buddhist, New Age and Humanist influences as well.
- Dem Bones- What zombies eventually turn into. They still have personalities and wills, but they can't talk.
- Fantastic Racism - Discussed here.
- Fantasy Gun Control
- Food Chains - Fairy Food, as usual.
- Grimmification - Lots and lots of this, unicorns have a tendency to eat virgins, for instance, and not in a nice way.
- Half-Human Hybrid - Half-elves and half-ogres, though these are always sterile.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards - More like Linear Warriors, Quadratic Low Mages, Logarithmic High Mages. Increased skill in High Magic never gives you more power, just more control, so that you can use it in more subtle and precisely.
- Loads and Loads of Races - On this plane, in playable territory, twelve (including all humans as one race). Keep in mind that we haven't even discovered the entirety of the first continent yet, and that there are theoretically infinite planes.
- Massive Race Selection - Standard Playable Races:
- Animorphism - The Ursidaen. Bears Are GOOD News!
- Humanoid Aliens - They're not actually aliens, but the Dae'Vol fit this trope pretty well. They're freakishly tall and thin, have porous red-and-grey skin with black stripes, Alien Hair on their heads, and most importantly have no mouths or noses.
- Lizard Folk - The Dragonkin. Which have wings, by the way. Please note that while their wings sprout from their shoulders, their arms don't.
- Our Elves Are Better - Also subverted. Elves are still small, forest-dwelling humanoids with natural magical abilities, but instead of being cultured and sophisticated or down to earth, they're Tricksters with a cultural aversion to hard work, similar to medieval European stereotypes of Gypsies. It is heavily implied that they are in fact a group of The Fair Folk gone native after spending thousands of years away from the realm of Faerie.
- Our Orcs Are Different - For one thing, they're called ogres. For another, they're amphibious swamp-dwellers. They're still big, dumb, and green though.
- People of Hair Color - Humans. This is averted with the Maradin (seafaring dark-skinned people) and Soiliens (Asians), but played straight with the Arameians (Númenóreans) and the Threakians (Scandinavians).
- Non-Playable Races from Adylheim:
- All Trolls Are Different - Holds within the game world itself. You know it's a troll because it's a vaguely nature-themed humanoid creature that doesn't look like anything else, not because of any shared characteristics among trolls.
- Our Dragons Are Different - Drakes.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same - Incredibly subverted. At first it seems that there aren't any Dwarves in Adylheim at all - but with enough digging it becomes clear that the role of the standard fantasy dwarves is held by the Mefici - non-playable, mysterious crystalline entities that mine crystal in return for undisclosed services from the Dee'Gar.
- And Elves VS Dwarves is averted, as the only race that even interacts with the Mefici is the Dae'Vol.
- Our Mermaids Are Different - The chosen mariners of Erina, goddess of the sea, are transformed into mermaids when they drown.
- Starfish Aliens - The Upok, as well as the unnamed, squidlike cousins of the Dae'Vol.
- Non-Playable Races from Other Planes:
- Magic and Powers - Find an overview here.
- Blessed with Suck - High magic is very powerful, instantaneous, and can be used without any training. So lots of young high mages, especially Fire and Life mages, end up dying. This is because high magic is Cast from Hit Points.
- Bond Creatures - Low mages' familiars, usually cats.
- Cursed with Awesome - The Ursidaen are humans cursed with the ability to shapeshift into bears. It's not all roses though: the power means that pregnancies often end up as miscarriages, and infanticide due to deformities is a common event.
- Disability Superpower - The Dae'Vol and their telepathy.
- Elemental Powers - High Magic. These are Personality Powers, but Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors is averted.
- Functional Magic - With caveats. Theoretically magic (with the exception of Mantra) cast in the same way should yield the same results, but the state of the universe and especially the state of the caster can change the results dramatically. For Low Magic and Alchemy, it's that you can't draw the exact same shape twice, and it requires such concentration and free time as to make screwing up at least once more likely than not. High Magic is sympathetic with the caster's emotions, so only the most self-controlled or skilled high mages can guarantee consistent results. Mantra is supplication to the gods, who have free will and aren't beholden to anyone.
- Glamour Failure - Elves' glamours stop working the moment they're touched with iron (steel is okay.)
- Hermetic Magic - Low Magic, the more versatile and least inherently risky to the caster of the two magic systems, is largely Geometric Magic. It also takes hours at least to achieve even the slightest result.
- Magic A Is Magic A - One of the few really strict rules, for the purpose of preserving game balance.
- Magically Binding Contract - Geises. Free will is still in play, however, as being entered into a geis against your will weakens the geis to the point that it might as well not be there.
- Mutually Exclusive Magic - Any one person can use only one kind of High Magic.
- Religion Is Magic - Mantra.
- Someone Has to Die - Death curses and Great Works. (Arguably also some Necromancy.)
- Space Is Magic - It's where the dragons live.
- Summon Magic - Unusual in that it averts No Ontological Inertia (summoning is permanent), and even more so in that Summoning does not bind the summonee to your will. You'd better have an offer that demon simply cannot refuse ready before you start...
- Words Can Break My Bones / I Know Your True Name - Not only True Names, but also Words of Power.
- Medieval European Fantasy - Played straight, sometimes averted. Arameia, Longmoor, Starkwater and Nevros play it straight, but Teslan is almost at Renaissance level, Andragoria and Nerin are both more Asian-themed, Maradin society would be at home in Water World, and non-human cultures are all suitably non-European.
- Medieval Stasis - Human lands. The Dae'Vol have Magitek and the Dragonkin are Technological Pacifists, but everyone else is held at a medieval level by hardship, politics, and the presence of magic. This is arguably a Deconstructed Trope, and at least subverted: two of the common justifications for Medieval Stasis, religious fervor and repressive government, are actually the defining characteristics of the more advanced societies. The Dragonkin's devout attachment to their all-consuming religion has kept them at peace with each other for thousands of years; though their xenophobia and traditionalism impeded the rate at which their technology developed, in the past eighteen thousand years they have never once had to deal with the End of an Age, and over the milennia their slow progress has added up. Dae'Vol Magitek is the result of living in a horrible dystopian society that cranks production and research up to Over Nine Thousand as a way of justifying their Moral Myopia. Meanwhile, the Medieval Stasis societies have more mundane and realistic reasons for remaining at their technology level: they have more immediate concerns, like feeding themselves and avoiding being killed by rivals.
- Moral Myopia - The Dae'Vol.
- Omniscient Morality License - Absolutely averted, even for the omniscient. Choice and free will are two of the defining themes of Adylheim, after all.
- Our Gods Are Greater - The Gods are just powerful people doing their jobs to keep reality from falling apart and letting out their old enemy. In line with the conventions of polytheistic mythology, the stories of their interactions have a definite Soap Opera feel.
- Our Monsters Are Different - It helps that the four original creators are still around, disambiguating the ambiguous. For more, see here.
- Giant Flyers - Dragons, drakes, and arguably the Dragonkin, in descending order of bigness.
- Giant Spider - The Moonspiders, which sing their prey to sleep rather than poisoning them.
- Little People - Gnomes are tiny, non-sentient humanoid earth elementals. They're pretty harmless unless you make them angry, in which case you'll want to avoid stepping on the ground as much as possible.
- Our Demons Are Different - A demon is just a sentient being that has signed the appropriate contracts. Selling one's soul is a last ditch effort though, typically they will generally be satisfied with the first few years of your life, or the last few. Or perhaps the memories of your first love. Those who have done too many deals with demons end up becoming demons themselves after death. Because, let's face it bureacracy is the ultimate evil, or as close to it as you'll get in Adylheim.
- Our Dragons Are Different - Dragons are giant beings of godlike power, and are worshipped by the dragonkin. They were instrumental in the gods' defeat of the creator Primus, but unlike the gods came to Adylheim to live. Their two wars reshaped the face of the planet, and they created the drakes, the dragonkin, and probably some Sealed Evil in a Can that's still hanging around, waiting to be discovered. At the end of the Second Dragon War they flew away into space, taking their most damaging machines of war with them, leaving the dragonkin and the drakes behind.
- Drakes are more conventional Western dragons.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier - Cannibalistic abominations that can only eat rotting meat, and therefore tend to gather anywhere large amounts of death occurs. Not actually undead, nor particularly aggressive usually, but people prefer not to have them hanging around for obvious reasons.
- Our Goblins Are Different - Goblins aren't tiny evil things, instead they're tiny strange things that mainly wander around moving things like dead sea gulls and small rocks from place to place without any seeming purpose. Did I mention they can only be seen through the corner of the eye? Oh and touching one or even acknowledging its existence is bad luck.
- Our Werewolves Are Different - Lycanthropy is an STD. Instead of a person turning into a wolf at regular intervals, the infected person's personality and behavior becomes gradually more wolfish, until the disease has run its course and a Fell Wolf rips its way out of the body, leaving behind a pile of human skin.
- Unicorn -
Let's just say "Power Perversion Potential" and leave it at that. You can say it, but it doesn't make it true. Unicorns don't do anything sexual with virgins - they just think they taste delicious. One of the very rare Always Chaotic Evil creatures in the game.
- Planet of Hats - The aversion of this trope is one of the key concepts of this game. No one, not even gods, demons, or zombies, is defined by their race.
- Squishy Wizard - Most Low Mages. Averted with High Mages, which were created as a counterpoint for those who might want a different playing style.
- The End of the World as We Know It - Indeterminately far in the future, when the Namer gives away the last piece of his name to a new person or object.
- The Gods Must Be Lazy - The gods answer prayers in only the slightest, you-get-an-edge-of-good-luck ways, and Mantra takes continuous hours and sometimes days to create any supernatural effect. The gods also never appear in person in Adylheim. Fortunately, there are no "good" and "evil" gods, just big supernaturally powerful people who have their own likes and dislikes, and their own duties in keeping the multiverse in order.
- The Undead - Usually created through necromancy, the Undead retain their free wills and their souls - usually the same souls they had at death. Maia, goddess of death, doesn't like giving up her souls, so if you want to make an undead, you should either kill the person yourself and immediately transform the body, or have her approval. You wouldn't like her when she's angry. They usually don't like being undead either, and if released from their master's control go back to their graves (after killing said master).
- Golem - Golems are reanimated bodies surrounded by the dirt of their graves for extra strength.
- Our Ghosts Are Different - Well they're not all that different, actually. Any person can become a ghost after they die if they want to stick around, though only those with unfinished business generally want to, as the afterlife is stasis followed by eventual rebirth (except for really exceptional artists, or demons).
- Our Zombies Are Different - Your standard, run-of-the-mill undead. They're pretty much like humans until they start getting gamey. They do not carry The Virus, and don't usually bite, either.
- Your Vampires Suck - Vampires are just really strong zombies. Word of God is that they're going to be nerfed even more eventually.
- Traveling at the Speed of Plot - Thanks to Quanoth, trifold god of Time, Causality and Debauchery, who is also responsible for such oft-observed phenomena as time flying when you're having fun.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute? - Largely averted. In-game opinions about animals and races seems to be based mostly on how likely they are to kill you or steal your stuff. Which is usually "pretty likely."
People and events within the game or game community, but not worked into its fabric or official setting, provide examples of:
The Adylheim community pop culture reference pool: