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Exterreri Design Notes: Corruption of Self and Environment

In today’s episode we look at the various mechanics at play that aid the overall sense of decay that permeates a game of Exterreri.

A Twisting Landscape

The hex-corruptor spits out nightmarish landscapes in the blink of an eye!
The hex-corruptor spits out nightmarish landscapes in the blink of an eye!

Each hex on the map has an associated corruption level in the Exterreri system. Hexes can be:

  • Untouched – Yet to fall under the nightmare’s sway but still prone to wandering monsters.
  • Corrupted – The nightmare holds dominion here. Corrupted hexes have one or two nightmarish features like slow time or impossible distances.
  • Lost – The rules of reality no longer apply in these cursed hexes. Lost hexes have three nightmarish features and host the worst encounters that the nightmare can offer.

The corruption level of a hex is not static. During the campaign the nightmare will naturally spread from lost hexes (I suggest a weekly check for this but the frequency is ultimately up to the GM) and affected hexes will gain another nightmarish feature.

Travelling through a hex while in possession of a nightmare-touched object is guaranteed to increase its corruption level. This encourages players to seek alternate routes back to civilisation and also fits nicely with the fluff.

Attenuation

A particularly unlucky reiver!
A particularly unlucky reiver!

The nightmare does not just influence the land. Reivers who have made multiple trips into the nightmare return changed. A freshly-rolled reiver starts with a natural resistance to the corruption but this is eroded by travelling through corrupted or lost hexes.

Attenuation is the mechanic that measures this change. Currently there are three levels of attenuation in Exterreri – acting as a mix of the experience and caster level systems found in popular RPGs. Increasing attenuation is likely to result in new limbs in unlikely places but will also allow the PC to cast spells. Players can even choose to invite this change willingly by studying forbidden tomes of forgotten lore.

A reiver’s attenuation will also affect the way in which the world reacts to the band’s presence. Certain monsters will ignore low-attenuation bands but relentlessly hunt those that have a high level of attenuation. It will also be more difficult to cross back into the waking world for reivers that have been all but consumed by the nightmare.

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