Basically, the players are introduced to the world and become aware of an impending global calamity. They have three months to save the world. (More on this later.) Calendar days in the game world will pass in real time, analogous to our real world calendar. The clock is ticking.
Players will schedule expeditions with each other and the DM. We'll play over Google+ or face-to-face.
Expeditions are limited to a single day/evening. Camping out for the night ends the session, so you want to get back to town or camp out somewhere safe, lest you risk an untimely death.
Between sessions, players have a couple choices for what they'd like to do on any given day.
- Spend gold for XP.
- Similar options include philanthropy, ostentatious purchases, gourmandising, etc.
- Standard goods are available in towns and cities.
- Rare goods travel from civilized outpost to outpost on moving caravans. ("The Alchemist caravan is in town! Let's stock up on potions.")
- You can move up to two hexes by foot or caravan, four by horse.
- Random encounters are resolved by a straight-up die roll.
- The roll is modified based on party size (safest to travel in a group), total levels, whether or not you're in a caravan, etc.
- Results vary, but can generally be broken down into Death, Capture, Escape, or Victory
- Most hexes on the map are "unexplored." It's possible to get lost in unexplored hexes.
- Some hexes are much deadlier than others.
Research (cost incurred):
- Maps (unlock additional visual information on the shared hexmap, including location of dungeons)
- Legends (treasures or monsters, including the locations of the Artifacts needed to save the land)
- Rumors (spread knowledge of events taking place in and around towns and cities)
- Spells, Magic Items, Alchemy
- Rituals (including a method for delaying the inevitable cataclysm)
Rest: By default, your character is recuperating from the last adventure.
- Paying more money provides better rest.
- If players can't pay a minimum daily fee, they end up on the street.
- Every night spent on the street results in a roll on a dangerous random table.
Expeditions (adventure sessions) are how the players will gain power and eventually save the world.
- You can only enter a dungeon or adventure site within a day's travel.
- "Clearing" a "same-level" or higher dungeon (recovering the key treasure) will instantly level up a character, regardless of group size. Large expeditions are encouraged.
- Fleeing a dungeon before recovering the key treasure will only grant a partial reward.
- You need to clear two "lower level" dungeons to gain a level. Trivial dungeons can provide financial rewards and magic items, but won't provide character levels.
Ideally, the group is large enough that players can split into mini-parties focused on different tasks. One group could head off to the wintry north in search of a key artifact, while another sets up home base in a capital city to focus on information gathering and conducting necessary research and rituals at the High Wizard's laboratory. Another group could be focused purely on exploration, filling out the map and sharing the information with the rest of the group magically, allowing for better overall strategic planning.
The players should have a few different paths to success, with some easier (and less direct) than others.