BLOODHEIST: FOLLY AND DOOM

We are back for a few updates on Bloodheist. The ruleset posted yesterday was not entirely complete, as it lacked specifics on Follies and Dooms. Fear not, because this post has you covered.

FOLLIES

A Folly is triggered whenever a character reaches 3 on their Doom track. They represent the negative effects of gathering Doom on a character’s psyche, and force the player to take penalties to certain types of action.

1Loner’s Folly
When you roll in the company of
another character, add an extra Doom Dice.
2Coward’s Folly
When you attempt a roll that puts you in
harm’s way, add an extra Doom Dice.
3Follower’s Folly
When you attempt a roll alone, add an extra Doom Dice.
4Butcher’s Folly
When you attempt a roll that is not related
to causing pain or destruction, add an extra Doom Dice.
5Scholar’s Folly
The GM will pose a question about the current job.
All rolls that are not in service of answering this
question are made with an extra Doom Dice.
6Glutton’s Folly
When in a room with a food source, you are
distracted and must make all rolls with an extra Doom Dice.

Follies will stay active until the character drops below 3 Doom again. In practise, this will likely only happen if they go on a betraying streak of the other PCs.

GRAND DOOMS

When a character reaches 6 on their Doom track, their story is over. As mentioned yesterday, Doom is not HP and doesn’t necessairly correspond to physical injury. It’s more like creeping fate. If a PC reaches 6 Doom in an obviously lethal situation, the GM should feel free to have them perish immediately. However, sometimes a character will hit 6 Doom by using a Ritual, or in other circumstances that don’t lend themselves to a sudden gory demise. In this case, GMs should feel free to choose from the below list of the 12 Grand Dooms. Keep the player guessing for a while about what exactly is going to happen to them.

  1. Doom of Crows – The crows know you are doomed. They flock to you, surround you, envelop you in an ebon embrace. Day by day their numbers grow, until none can see your flesh beneath the talons and the feathers. 
  2. Doom of Flies – Your flesh is host to maggots and rot. The worm will conquer. Your skin peels, your teeth loosen. Your shambling cadaver can only hold together for so long. Death is near. You have but hours.
  3. Doom of the Gambler – roll a d6 and show nobody but the GM the result. The next time you roll this number, you will die. 
  4. Doom of Mirrors – the next time you pass a mirror, your reflection leaps from it like a shark and seizes you, dragging you into the frozen depths to perish. 
  5. Doom of the Desperate Clown – you will vanish if nobody is looking at you. You must be the centre of attention at all times.
  6. Doom of the Bargainer – time stops and the Devil appears. He will take you with him to Hell this very instant – unless you have something amusing to offer him. Perhaps he wishes to control some part of your anatomy. Perhaps he wishes to marry you to one of his treacherous spawn.
  7. Doom of the Deep – the dark and silent water rises to claim you. It is patient. It is slow. It will find you. Even now it rumbles in the plumbing, it creeps through the rusting pipes.
  8. Doom of Hounds – the Infernal Hunt have scented your black, sinful soul – and it is for you that the blazing hounds howl. It is for you that the Duke of Hades saddle their obsidian steeds and sounds their horns. Nobody but the Doomed can hear the hounds baying – yet they ride out to claim you regardless.
  9. Doom of the Poet – speaking a sentence that does not rhyme sears your throat like molten lead, killing you. Can anyone maintain a poetic cadence for the rest of their days? Would anyone want to?
  10. Doom of Stone – a grey mote, like a pinprick of ice, appears on your flesh. It will spread. By the morning they will only wonder who commissioned such a hideous work for display.
  11. Doom of Horses – you are spooked, endlessly restless, your heart is bursting in your chest. To stop running for even an instant would prove fatal.
  12. Doom of the Black Sloth – The black sloth ventures out from its cave deep below Tartarus. It walks slowly, it sleeps often, it is utterly merciless. Hour by hour, day by day, it draws nearer. What horrors await the man who succumbs to its infernal embrace? Surely such a slow moving creature may be avoided? But for how long? How long?

NPCS

Bloodheist NPCS don’t have numerical stats, skills, or a Doom level. I want to keep the dice rolls as player-focused as possible, because I’ve discovered I don’t really enjoy chucking dice around while I GM. I will occasionally use them as an oracle when I can’t decide how a situation should play out, but I mostly want to focus on game flow, narration, characterisation, and doing stupid voices. Therefore it’s important to me that Bloodheist NPCs don’t require me to roll dice to use them.

Generic, no-names NPCs don’t get any details at all. I assume the reader is capable of imagining what a train conductor or fishmonger is able to accomplish. The players should be able to overcome most NPCs with a single roll of 6. More powerful NPCs, usually Vampires, might have a stat block that looks like this:

LADY CECILIA WINTERBLOOM. Vampire, House Winterbloom. Flowing red dress, pale white hair, elegant features. Selfish, vain, unobservant.

ANDREI THE BUTCHER. Vampire, Powerful Opponent, House Winterbloom. Dark suit, close-cropped hair, covered in tattoos. Silent, violent, watchful.

Pretty self explanatory I think. Vampire NPCs always need to be identified as such because human PCs can’t fight them head on. Then we have House allegiance, some physical and personality descriptors, and a note on how likely they are to notice subterfuge. Andrei’s Powerful Opponent tag indicates that he forces PCs to roll an extra Doom dice whenever they’re pitted against him. As they’re both powerful named vampires, I’d likely want the players to roll two or three full successes to put them down for good. Andrei especially I think should get back up for one last scare if they think they’ve killed him.

Hopefully this fills a few of the missing pieces from the rules I posted yesterday. Some playtest reports will come later in the week.

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