Pellikoi Quickstart for Blades in the Dark

Rules? We have rules!

Pillars of the Underworld
Mountain disrupting a spirit's angry toy

We’ve been making games about the Pellikoi and the inhabitants of the Typhoon Atolls for years now. The world was originally born out of a desire to make a game where the players build the world from the ground up. This is hardly a new idea, as far back as the Keep on the Borderlands, there were gaming groups building a city on tabula rasa, and these days Microscope is a terrific way to worldbuild.

However, we wanted a world to be built in play, to give the heroes the agency to shape the landscape while still keeping them mortal enough to feel threatened by grounded threats such as packs of ravenous animals, or ghosts.

Enter the idea of a semi-divine, immortal demigod. Or at least the idea of one as embodied by mere mortals. Either way, you would be playing that heroic ideal.

The game began its life in Savage Worlds, where the Spirits took on the form of trappings for the magic system and in true Savage Worlds fashion, the heroes were mighty of thew, of steely gaze, and many bennies were expended slaying horrible beasts.

It was fun, but we wanted to focus play a bit, and tie the heroes to their villagers a bit more. To enhance the idea that, without the stories told of them, the Pellikoi would just wither away. Mythical heroes are in a symbiotic relationship with their peoples, and the one cannot exist without the other.

Fortunately, “Blades in the Dark,” John Harper’s fantastic ode to the criminal life had just been released, and in the base building, sore settling and devil’s bargaining could be seen a lot of useful material for the Atolls.

So here it is, the playbooks represent a good spread of mythical heroic types, the islands all bend towards one of the four elements, as do the Spirits. Hopefully, in dealing with their politicking, and trying to find a way for the fragile creature that is humanity to survive, you can find a way to build a harmonious cycle, or burn it all down in a glorious gotterdammerung!