Anesidora is a harsh fantasy, mythological, sci fi setting. The planet is colder than our world and the days and nights last entire months. The environment is as much of a threat as other people seeking power, wealth, and basic survival. It is a world where the desperate hunt and gather scarce resources, while the citizens of the God cities live with extreme wealth and privilege. Most problems cannot be solved with violence, because there will always be someone, or something, bigger, stronger, and more desperate than you.
The mythology and technology of the past has been twisted by time into new religions and magical practices. 500 years ago, a disaster, known as the Reign of Chione, led to a cultural schism splitting the world into two major cultures forced to share it. The Chosen who wield ancient powers beyond their own comprehension, and the Exiled forced to live wherever they can find food and shelter.
Chosen civilization lives an anachronistic late medieval lifestyle, where magic is ancient technology. Exiled society is much larger and more varied than the Chosen. They live by whatever means necessary as primitive survivalists, poor outsiders, or founders of their own competitive towns, cities, and countries. Some believe in the rejection of the gods and their magic, while others embrace the use of stolen magic. Larger Exiled societies are capable of incredible feats of engineering and culture without the use of magic.
These rules provides the tools needed to be heroes in a world where no man is a god, and humanity lives at the mercy of Anesidora.
Anesidora grew from making Pen & Paper & Laser Guns. I created a new system for the show with 12 sided dice that used ability trees instead of classes. Years later, I had the idea for a frozen world where people lived at the mercy of ancient machine lords that required human sacrifice. I decided to combine elements of the PPLG system with the setting I was developing to create a new game for my friends. I ran that home game for almost a year before starting the stream on Maze Arcana, and it has grown ever since.
When I run role playing games, I like stories about heroes with limited power bringing communities together to change the world. This means that they rarely involve a party of adventurers fighting a dragon or dark army by themselves. Instead, they revolve around seeking ancient power, gathering armies and cultures together, or finding other means to overcome impossible odds.
Anesidora is designed to facilitate this type of game play. It focuses on choices and abilities that are not directly meant to fight. When all other options are exhausted, Anesidora uses a tactical combat system that rewards forward planning, encourages options that are not simply attacking, and kills those who underestimate their opponents.
Anesidora is a tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) with one or more players who take on the role of Player Characters (PCs) in a world that the Game Master (GM) controls. Player Characters might not be the strongest or the smartest, or even good people, but there is a spark instead them that drives them to seek out new things. They question the status quo and have an unquenchable wanderlust.
During the game, each player portrays and controls their PC’s actions as well as the actions of that PC’s Companions. Before the game, they should work with the GM to write their character’s personal history, and the backstory of any Companions, NPC allies who are also under the player's control.
The GM controls the world and makes decisions for exciting Non-Player Characters (NPCs) for the PCs to interact with. They should also plan secrets for the PCs to discover, places for them to explore, and villains to fight. Often inspired by the PC's backstories.
It is important for the GM and Players to keep in mind that the goal of the game is not to win. The goal is to create a story that each participant will enjoy and remember. If any rules do not fit the story your group wants to tell, the GM is welcome to change them. These rules present the canon of Anesidora, however, your group is welcome to change the world. Maybe your game master would like to change the arrangements of the cities, their leaders, or add their own regions. This is all completely fine and players are encouraged to make the world of Anesidora their own.
Like other TTRPGs, Anesidora is best at telling certain stories. Some of those stories include exploration and discovery, but Anesidora also has a heavy focus on getting to know different cultures and uniting people around common goals. In creating the world and writing the rules, we have kept certain guiding themes in mind.
Anesidora is a world of scarce resources, and whether they were driven by greed or desperation, society is damaged. People justify brutal action and warfare based on things done to them in their youth or to their people a hundred years ago. In their retribution, they create new terrible acts that drive the next generation to harm others. Even those who try to do the right thing can turn to causing pain and suffering as a quick solution.
“I’ve suffered, why shouldn’t they?”
“The world is full of suffering, why should it not have more?”
“I don’t want anyone to suffer the way I have suffered.”
Violence will consume the world in an unending circle if left unchecked.
People naturally distrust outsiders and the unknown. Even with magic, long distance communication is difficult to impossible, so few interact with cultures outside their own. But when faced with the truth, it becomes starkly clear that most people are just trying to exist.
Even the best of intentions can lead to terrible consequences.
A millennia ago, humanity achieved technology far beyond our own. There was interstellar travel, genetic engineering and energy weapons, but these technologies were in their infancy even during the time of the Ancients. While nano medical technology existed, most people were still relied on specially tailored antibiotics and self applying bandages. So what is left behind is a mix of technology we would recognize today, technologies we might see in the near future, and things that we would call magic.
There is no "real" magic in Anesidora. However, the AIs that control the "Titans" and "Gods" believe themselves to be the mythological figures. They also do not fully comprehend the human experience. This means that they might be pursued by ritual and sacrifice or even use their ability to link directly to human consciousness to give "visions" of predicted futures. There is a conflict in Anesidora between the "truth" that it is sci fi and the fun of the magic and mythology. It is up to your group how they would like to approach it.
Having said all of this, GMs may introduce true magic into Anesidora if they see fit or create new and impossible technologies to make special effects and strange powers.