Current Completion Stage: In Development
Premise: The players have been banished to the Netherworld, stripped of all possessions and cast into the dim underworld from which few have ever returned. The way behind is shut, and the only way forward is down….
Netherworld is a cooperative dungeon crawling card game focused on a scalable modular design. Player agency and strategy are core elements of design, and gameplay encourages players to make informed decisions based on the expected consequences of their actions.
Approx playing time 60-120 minutes
36 Dungeon Cards (Mini sized)
27 Skill Cards (Mini sized)
1 Map Card (Mini sized, for map fragment tokens)
42 Event Cards (Poker size)
33 Treasure Cards (Poker size))
6 Character Cards (Poker size)
6 Stat Cards (Poker size)
*Edit: Components for strip down PnP revision*
36 Dungeon Cards (Mini sized)
8 Skill Cards (mini)
14 Event Cards (Poker size)
24 Treasure Cards (Poker size))
3 Character Cards (Poker size)
(Total of 7 printed U.S. Letter sized sheets of paper)
Additionally players will require:
A number of D6 dice, dependent on how many players there are
A number of tokens to use for various effects in game.
In the most basic versions of the game, on each level of the dungeon the primary goal is to obtain a skeleton key which unlocks the stairs, and to reach those stairs to descend to the next level. The players might find the skeleton key in a number of places in the dungeon, but chances greatly increase in a treasure room (more information on that at a later date).
The player's goal is to reach one or more of four locations on the map. At the beginning of each level the four cards representing the (2) stairway cards and (2) treasure room cards are shuffled and placed face down. Depending on the difficulty, the players may choose one or more of these cards and reveal it.
Each level of the dungeon is contained in a 9x9 space. The dungeon is built by procedurally drawing cards from a deck of 36 cards. Each turn, before drawing a card to place for the dungeon map, players must choose their intended direction and place the card drawn accordingly. At the start of each dungeon the players are allotted a number of “Map Fragments” (in the form of tokens). Before drawing and placing a dungeon card, players may use a Map Fragment (token) to look at the next card in deck, and make a decision on where to place it afterwards. This gives the players a valuable resource to utilize as well as an additional layer of player agency. Additional Map Fragments can be found throughout the dungeon, sometimes at a cost (like trading an item to a monster for information, or spending precious time to decipher a script drawn hastily on a dungeon wall).
Players are left to make many decisions about the path they choose, which direction to go in order to reach to their goal. Depending on the difficulty chosen, not being able to reach the stairs might equal failure, the need to start the level over, or if they were lucky enough to find a secret passage, they might sacrifice some equipment and precious time to crawl through a narrow tunnel to get to the stairway.
There is more layered depth and player agency in the combat system and mechanics like dungeon alert, and how the skeleton key is obtained, but I’d like to start presentation of design piece by piece as presentation materials for additional content are not ready at this time.
Below is a link to the prototype Dungeon Cards (the PDF files), as well as a sampling of some of the concept art I created for this game.
- Last edited Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:48 am (Total Number of Edits: 9)
- Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:01 am
Sounds fun, how are you handling encounters?
Sounds fun, how are you handling encounters?
Each standard Netherworld module consists of 42 Event cards and 33 Treasure Cards, with the possible addition of newer types of the other card.
The goal for the party, starting from the entrance on level 1, is to reach and unlock the stairs on level 3.
The 42 event cards are divided into Level 1,2, and 3 cards of 14 each. The cards for each level are shuffled and stacked on top of the cards for the next level. Each time the party enters a room on the dungeon map (marked by the sunburst icon) an event card is drawn. Events can range from combat encounters to traps or unique special events like an NPC that might trade with the party or a forge where an item might be repaired or enhanced.
As the party travels through the dungeon they will be faced with choices that will encroach on their time and the level of alert in the dungeon from their activities. Examples of alarm causes might be running away from combat (some monsters will raise more alarm than others), breaking down a locked door without picking the lock, taking time to rest to heal damage. Each time the party’s actions result in alarm, a card or number of cards is drawn from the event deck and placed face down in the alarm deck. As alarm increased the monsters of the lower levels rise up to engage the party. If the event deck is depleted before the party escapes the 3rd level, the dungeons residents join enough forces to overwhelm them and the quest module is lost. There are a few ways that alarm can be reduced (by moving cards from the alarm deck back to the event deck). Players will have to weigh the choice of actions relative to the threat it will bring. Do we break down this door to continue to the stairs, or try to find a way around? Do we run from this fight that might be too dangerous for us and pay the price of raising significant alarm?
There are 33 treasure cards in each module. Each treasure card is an actual piece of equipment that can be used. Examples are potions that might heal, a length of rope that might help cross chasms, armor, weapons, or spellbooks. Players will have to work cooperatively to equip each party member to make the best use of resources. When the party finds treasure sometimes they will have the chance to spend extra time to search for an additional items, and once again face a choice of action and consequences.
On each level of the dungeon The Skeleton Key is placed in the position of the 12th card in the treasure deck after it has been shuffled. The Skeleton is a double faced card so the players will know immediately when they find it. The two treasure rooms provide significant amounts of loot to the party (3 or 4 pieces depending on difficulty) and thus make it much easier to find the Skeleton Key.
- Last edited Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:16 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:44 pm
*reserved for remaining card types*
Combat Example (I'll try to not make it too confusing):
As players move through the dungeon they take turns drawing dungeon cards, in the example shown Player One is always the person who drew the card. This player is in a "hotseat" of sorts, when the combat starts all monsters will threaten that player up to a maximum of three. Any remaining monsters are placed in front of other players in the same order as cards are drawn (typically clockwise).
There are two party members in this example, and combat is set up as such. The Event card is placed in an area in front of Player One (the player who drew the card) , A roll is made to determine how many Bugbears are encountered (d3-1, a three is rolled and there are 2 party members so four bugbears are encountered) Their HP are individually determined (D3+3) to be 4,4,6, and 5. They are placed around the card to indicate their position relative to the party.
Combat is resolved by players rolling 2D6 and adding the results. If the roll is equal or greater than the monster's Power (8 in this case for the bugbears) the player succeeds and deals damage, if it is less the targets power, the monsters win and deal damage to the player. Damage is determined by a 3rd D6 die roll, which is rolled at the same time as the first two (2 white dice and a black die rolled at the same time for example) with any modifiers added/subtracted and finally divided by 2.
Before the first player's roll is resolved any other players go and results are handled from the last player, back to the first. This gives players acting later in a combat round agency to act on events happening earlier in the round. A character might have an ability that prevents damage for example and use it to prevent damage that might be dealt to player one.
If the Bugbear engaging player two is killed, that player can then directly attack the remaining bugbears focusing on player one. If the 2nd player's attacks fail, he/she does not take damage unless there is a critical failure. (A critical failure is a nature roll of 2 or 3, and a critical success is a natural roll of 11 or 12). If player two deals damage in this way while he/she is not threatened he/she may chose to have their amount of damage dealt prevented to player one (if that player were to take some). This is essentially a blocking attack or parry. The additional danger of being threatened by more than one monster is addition damage. For each monster beyond one that a player faces, damage weight (the number added to the D6 damage roll) is increased by +2. In this case if player one were to take damage and a 3 were rolled he/she would take (3 die roll + 2 bugbear damage weight + 4 for two additional opponents = 9) this number is divided by two (rounding down) and the player would take 4 damage.
To escape combat a player must declare his intention to flee before making a combat roll, if the roll is failed he/she takes damage, if the roll succeeds the player escapes. Once all members of the party are out of combat, 3 cards from the event deck would be placed face down on the alarm deck.
If the players defeat the bugbears they draw one treasure card, and then may choose to draw a second treasure card if they search further but must pay 2 Alarm for it (2 cards to the alarm deck)
- Last edited Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:00 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 3:46 pm
This is a pretty interesting combat mechanic.
I had a question about the map cards. Just curious about the icons in the center of rooms. Cool art, by the way.
Paradox Games wrote:
I had a question about the map cards. Just curious about the icons in the center of rooms.
There are three pdf's in the google drive link on the initial post. Two are the dungeon cards, one is the legend explaining icons and what each level setup looks like. Here's a direct link to it.
This game is a revision of a game that was originally prototyped some 20 years ago, and has gone through countless revisions already, but I'm currently in the process of doing a component strip down to make it easier to test and enjoy as a print and play.
For that purpose I've consolidated character cards and stat cards into a single card and removed most significant artwork. The HP track around the perimeter (from 12-0) is designed so a Dime sized token can be used to track HP, and the "Action Points" box is sized for a standard 16mm die to track action points. This layout would require more delicate handling in a professional printing (for bleed and drift obviously) but for PnP it should function well I think.
Thoughts on this type of layout? I know there's a lot of contextual information missing, I decided it might be better to strip out as many components as possible so interested gamers might be able to quickly set up an enjoyable PnP.
Bouches du Rhone
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When I love to do some tunnel & dungeon crawling, crunching to pulp some dwarves to bring me luck (and their gold too!! ), and spending the rest of the night in the tavern, a girl on my knees and a big mug of cold beer, telling to my public the wonderful adventures I did!!!