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Roleplay / Roll To Dodge: Savral

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Roll to Dodge: Savral is a forum game hosted by Cathari Sarad in the TV Tropes Roll to Dodge thread.

On June 11, 2014, Cathari Sarad took over as Game Master, as the previous GM, Fulcanelli, had been absent.

From there, things started going downhill. Abusing her GM’s authority, Cathari Sarad ascended to godhood, destroyed any trace of Fulcanelli’s world, and then replaced it with her own. On top of that, she removed all of the other players’ god-like powers and reduced them to disembodied souls. Thousands of years later, these souls would take physical form once again, and now they must navigate through a world filled with political strife, powerful witches, and demonic unicorns.

The Roll to Dodge takes place in an ancient-medieval fantasy setting, known as Savral. While technically a continuation of the main thread, Savral has many stylistic differences from the sessions run by previous game masters. Because of its original setting, Savral does away with the crossover elements that characterized the majority of the thread before it. Furthermore, players are constrained by the features of their class and race, which they must select before fully joining the game. A player’s success not only depends on what roll they get, but also what action they took and the circumstances surrounding them. As a result, players must rely on analyzing their surroundings and using their classes’ strengths to their advantage.

A summary of the events so far can be found on this recap page.

However, on Dec 3, 2015, Cathari Sarad stepped down as GM, and capnrecked became the new GM. This had effectively ended the story of Savral as capnrecked, taking on the role of a god named Husniya Tujjar, had reshaped the withered world of Savral into a new world called Nur...which unfortunately ended after some controversy regarding a more complex system capnrecked was hoping to introduce. Lime Kid is now the new GM in capnrecked's absence, and the world has been reset once more, this time with more focus on adventuring and humor than hopelessness, dangerous monsters, and politics. Lime Kid's run as GM starts here.

Roll To Dodge: Savral contains examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: While most races and factions have varying shades of gray morality, unicorns are depicted as universally evil. Whenever they show up, they're either trolling the players, working for other antagonists, brainwashing scores of innocent civilians or slaughtering them outright. Over the course of the game, they've laid waste to several cities and transformed one of the world's subregions into a barren wasteland. Given that they're creations of the witch goddess Cathy, the unicorns are a justified example.
    • Notably averted with certain lesser witches, namely Yukari.
  • Anachronism Stew: While Savral adopts an ancient-medieval time frame for the most part, there are several elements which come from notably different time frames. The witches in particular tend not to blend in with the ancient-medieval aesthetic, especially with regards to their clothing.
    • The Witch Grimhilde dresses like a cowgirl and wields colt-45 revolvers. Her minions also wield muskets even though most of the world uses spells, bows, or crossbows for ranged weapons.
    • The Witch Beatrice wears an SS-officer’s uniform.
    • The Witch Schierke wears a lab coat and safety glasses. She also has an industrial facility in her lair complete with forges, lathes, mills, and power generators.
    • The players are not immune to this either. In his second incarnation, Philosopher uses a rocket propelled grenade launcher.
    • The Space Phantom has a bike in his first incarnation.
  • Big Bad: The Witch Cathy, the in-game persona of the game master, acts as the ultimate villain, given that she destroyed the previous game master's world and de-powered all the other player characters. In Savral's past, she turned the northern half of the world into a barren wasteland, sicced a horde of man-eating elves on the rest of the world, and caused mass-genocide. She's also responsible for creating the game's demonic, trolling unicorns, which cause never-ending problems for the player characters and wreak havoc on the world as a whole.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Pitch black eyes usually indicates that a character has been possessed by the setting’s demonic unicorns.
  • Boss Banter: Most of the bosses in this Roll To Dodge speak with the player characters during their fights.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Witch Cathy, being the in-game personification of the game master, seems especially prone to blurring the lines between in-game events and out-of-game conversations. The following conversation on turns 115 and 116, where Cathy is torturing Math's character, illustrates this:
    Mathleticism (out of character): What are my chances of surviving this?
    Cathy (in game): Mathy-poo, what makes you think you’re fucked? You don’t trust Miss Cathy here to keep you alive? I’m a good and just goddess, not to mention I’m the cutest~! Besides, you don’t need to use the white. Can’t you see I’m right here, sweetie?
    Mathleticism: Damn it, Cathy! We have this fourth wall for a reason.
    Cathy: Silly Mathy-poo, there’s no need for something like a fourth wall when you’ve got someone as cute as me.
  • Cthulhumanoid: The Cthuloids are gray, hairless humanoids with tentacles replacing their mouths. They serve as lieutenants in the Puzov army.
  • Cursed with Awesome: At the Temple of Hastar, Makuta 9999 accidentally turns himself into a Spider Swarm lich by reading off a ritual cylinder. While it makes him vulnerable to holy magic, the transformation also makes him extremely hard to kill.
  • Death Is Cheap: Player characters do not suffer significant consequences for dying, as they simply respawn. The only downside is that players frequently respawn in a different location, forcing them to abandon any quests they were working towards. Non-player character deaths are permanent, though some of them do become ghosts.
  • De-power: Prior to Cathari Sarad’s takeover, players could easily travel to alternate dimensions, form armies of their own, possess important figures, and become gods themselves. Once Cathari ascended to godhood, she removed all of their powers and reduced them to the equivalent of 1st level RPG characters. Part of the players’ motivation involves reclaiming the powers that were lost.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time one is introduced, a unicorn lures bRaHiAn1 deep into a forest and then kicks her in the shins. This is the first of many times they actively screw with the players. And things just get worse from there.
  • Fictional Color: Named after the Discworld color, Octarine exists as an indicator of eldritch magic. The fact it is never described in terms of other colors highlights its otherness.
  • Flesh Golem: Near Tal-Uras, Trip encounters one of Schierke’s creations, a monstrosity comprising of shrumen and bear body parts fused together.
  • Ghost Town: The players encounter several examples, some of which have actual ghosts.
    • Trip accidentally teleports himself, NESgamer 190, and a group of villagers into an abandoned goblin city deep in Rokkan.
    • Tabbune runs into an abandoned dwarf village, which just happens to be haunted. He then spends several rounds fighting off a bunch of skeletons.
  • God Is Evil: Cathari Sarad. Any goddess who would willingly create things like the Unicorns cannot be anything but a sadistic troll.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Cathy’s guidebook is implied to have any and all relevant information about the world of Savral. It has a complete bestiary, a few chapters dedicated to explaining how magic works, and it offers advice based on the mechanics of the game itself. Whether or not players can access this information depends entirely on Cathari’s whims.
  • The Great Wall: The Harkad Empire has a massive wall stretching across the northern border of the witchlands, through a mountain cluster in the center of the continent, and alongside the border to the Puzov Occupied territories. Said wall also contains barrier magic for keeping Puzov troops out. In the course of the game, Trip fights alongside a contingent of Puzov forces shortly after they break through said wall.
  • Henchmen Race: According to the overseers, both the dragonborn and the guardians are artificial races created by the Witch Beatrice. The former serves as the backbone of the Puzov army while the latter specialize in border defense and infiltration. It is implied that the cthuloids are an artificial race as well, as they have a similar serial naming system to the dragonborn soldiers.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Philosopher gains a set of five rocket propelled grenades that can deal holy damage. One of them disintegrates a group of three elves and their horses; another vaporizes his lich body completely after an ill-advised Rocket Jump. The paladin at the Temple of Hastar, who resurrects as Templar Reborn, also wields a holy-enchanted mace. He uses it to cut off Makuta 9999’s regeneration abilities as a lich.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The session starts with Cathari Sarad taking over the previous game and destroying its world to make room for her own.
  • Improvised Armor: After slaying a tiger, Philosopher chooses to wear its corpse as armor.
  • Inept Mage: Trip, until he gained the trait Wizard’s Caution. As a wizard, his spells frequently backfire on him, usually by blowing up in his face. When he tries to use magic to learn about Stormwald, he summons forth a unicorn instead.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Cathy's ultimate goal involves getting the players to kneel before her and making them into her slaves. This ritual of submission may also require players to suck on her feet and endure endless torture.
    • Also, as some players have learned to their misfortune, she can seemingly change any player's class at will without their consent, including to things that nobody would otherwise play as like Witch or Manslave...
  • Little People Are Surreal: A number of one-foot tall men in white tuxedos appear in Trip’s drug/dream sequence to highlight its bizarreness.
  • Lizard Folk: Influenced by Dungeons & Dragons, Savral features kobolds and dragonborn as prominent races. Kobolds fall under the small and roguish kind of reptilians while the dragonborn fall under the large and brutish variety. At the start of the session, the kobolds control one of the world's largest empires, which is rapidly falling apart due to external threats and internal rebellion. The dragonborn are an artificial race whose members serve as front line soldiers for the Puzov army.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: A few traits allow both players and bosses to re-roll dice to achieve better results. Trip's Wizard's Caution allows him to reroll for any magical spell whenever he rolled a one. As explained in Cathy's Guidebook, the Ashen Goat Demon has the trait Accuracy, which allows it to roll two dice per action and use the better result.
  • Mad Scientist: From creating a Flesh Golem from Shrumen and bear body parts to having a manufacturing facility in her lair, the Witch Schierke fits the bill. She looks the part too, sporting a lab coat while speaking in a pseudo-German accent. She’s also taken cues from Fran Madaraki, having sewn four additional arms onto her body.
  • Magic Misfire: While Trip was still a wizard, his spells had a tendency to blow up in his face whenever he rolled a one.
  • Matriarchy: The regions of Avis-Sfal and Spyrus consist of a number of independent human villages led by magic-using priestesses. Within these villages, men are never the focus of players’ interaction, in contrast to many other regions where players interact with mostly male NPCs. It’s implied that these societies are matrifocal, since the Tgan high priestess’s brother occupies a position beside her and no husband figure exists. While the roles of men in these societies aren't clearly defined, both the Tgan High priestess and the priestess Zbse encounters doubt men can rule effectively.
  • Mordor: Rokkan, also known as the Witchlands, is a barren wasteland covered in perpetual twilight. While the region houses numerous settlements, said places require extensive magical infrastructure to feed its inhabitants. The region also contains several civilizations, led by the titular witches, that are generally hostile to the outside world. At the same time, the players encounter a number of settlements belonging to non-elven races, implying that the witchlands had seen greener days. A few instances in the game also suggest Cathy had instigated this transformation, using the elves and unicorns to exterminate the locals in each province.
  • Mushroom Man: Known as Shrumen in this setting. While they don't have a nation of their own, they tend to be common in western Harkad and Nivani. Shrumen soldiers tend to wield axes more than any other weapon.
  • Omniglot: All of the Player characters are this, as outlined under Translator Microbes.
  • Our Liches Are Different: In Savral, most liches are undead made of billions of spiders. They have black rings as phylacteries. Philosopher in his second and third incarnations is an exception to this, as he takes the form of a more traditional lich with a zombie-like body and an amulet phylactery.
  • Random Number God: BC The Entity's first character worships Temere Numerus, a god of probability and chance. In terms of the game itself... well, yeah.
  • Resurrective Immortality: While the players can die, the fact they can respawn, with all their memories intact, makes them effectively immortal. This is justified in-universe since the players are disembodied souls that Cathy cannot completely destroy.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: In Savral, holy-based healing spells will harm undead, including zombies, ghosts and liches. In his second incarnation, Lord Herobrine tries to heal himself as a ghost. Instead of healing him, it fries him, though being cursed by Cathy didn’t help matters.
  • Sapient Steed: Witches and elves tend to have unicorns as steeds. Unicorns are sapient in that they converse with both their riders and the player characters.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Instead of leveling up, players gain unique skills or perks after enduring for a variable number of turns or dying. Unlike other examples, the players have no say in what these skills or perks are, since Cathy doles them out based on how the player performs.
  • Taken for Granite: Whenever a player becomes inactive or doesn't submit an action for a long time, their in-universe persona turns into a stone statue. Said statue is typically mounted on a pedestal with the player’s name on it.
  • The GM Is a Cheating Bastard: When Trip was just about to finish off the Ashen Goat Demon, Cathari Sarad turns one of Trip’s fives into a one.
  • Time Stands Still: The Witch Louise has the ability to manipulate time and by extension freeze it. On turn 69, she uses this ability to isolate Brah from a group of Puzov soldiers and torment her with a swarm of puking Scarfy-like creatures. This scene even has the world turn monochrome.
  • To Serve Man: Elves in Savral are known for having a taste for human flesh.
  • Translator Microbes: Player characters have an innate trait that translates NPC dialogue into English, given that the player characters can communicate with Savral's inhabitants, even though they speak in a variety of different tongues and languages. This creates a few interesting situations.
    • When bRaHiAn1 switches from speaking to a group of Keranian Humans to negotiate with a group of Imari Shades, the humans make note of the sudden language swap.
    • While conversing with the lich Enri, Kayne asks Enri to teach him some of the orc languages while visiting his pyramid in the desert. When Enri tries explaining the fundamentals of Ixali while translating a few words, Kayne hears everything in English, even though the Ixali script bears little similarity to the English language.
  • Troll: The unicorns are the most blatant example. The first thing they do is lure bRaHiAn1 into a forest and kick her in the shins. From there on out, they’re either mocking the players for their failures, such as TheSpacePhantom unleashing Aspect of Cathari Sarad, or abusing their Teleport Spam for antics like redirecting the players’ attacks to harm innocents or burying them alive. Almost every action they take serves no other purpose than to earn the players’ undying hatred.
  • Unicorn: Unicorns are a prominently featured race in this Roll to Dodge. While they have a typical unicorn appearance, they are anything but good or pure. Unicorns in Savral are infamous for trolling the players. In their equestrian form, they’re capable of Teleport Spam, Mind Control, phasing through walls, and detaching their heads from the rest of their bodies. When they fuse themselves to various objects, they gain Lovecraftian Superpowers such as sprouting Combat Tentacles and launching fetuses at people, making them borderline Eldritch Abominations. All of these abilities make them nearly impossible to kill, much to the ire of the players.
  • Winged Humanoid: An imported race from the Fire Emblem series, the (bird) Laguz are winged humans that can fly. While Rhyme and Treason can transform between a humanoid and bird form, most Laguz native to Savral do not use this ability.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The Witch Jadice seems fond of this. When Kayne meets her, she introduces herself as a benevolent angel. Under this guise, she tries convincing him to slay the lich Enri, a well-intentioned necromancer ruling over the Gajj desert. Later, she convinces Jon that she’s the goddess Imari. Considering what happens after she teleports him out of the shade mine he’s in at the time, she may have had other purposes in mind for him. It’s also heavily implied that she’s disguising as the Seer of Imari, using her position to lead the shades in a holy war against Keran so she can expand her sphere of influence.
  • World of Technicolor Hair: So far, several of the witches have unnatural hair colors. Medusa’s is green, Marisa’s is pink, Schierke’s is purple, Yukari’s is orange, Grimhilde’s is blue, and Jadice’s is white. On the natural color spectrum, we have Cathari, Louise, and Beatrice with blonde, brown and black hair respectively.
  • The Worm That Walks: Liches such as Makuta 9999, Yassari II, and Enri are this, seeing as they’re made out of billions upon billions of spiders. Makuta also turns a few guards into spider-swarm organisms, making them into this.