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 Author: Adam Vass  Category: fantasy, future, horror, memory, sci-fi, space

Necronautilus is a tabletop roleplaying game for a Gamemaster and 1+ players. 

In it, players act as souls bound to clouds of noxious gas called Death Agents, exploring a universe outside of time consisting of planets full of creatures who ended up there when they died. While using their Words of Power to act on behalf of the blind god Death and maintain order in a post-death galaxy, they’ll see their powers grow and splinter while exploring the corporeal life they left behind.

Diesel-fueled goliaths flood the planet with their motor oil blood. Living mountains of ivy and thorns reach for remnants of light from a nearby dead sun. 5474N collects malevolent souls to raise an army on the molten chrome planet of Hell. All this and more in the post-death infinite universe of NECRONAUTILUS!

If you like games like Troika!, movies like Guardians of The Galaxy, or music by Spirit Adrift, Ghost, or Black Sabbath, this game is for you.

Character creation and world-building are minimal at first, allowing players to jump right into gameplay, but development continues throughout the course of play. Death Agents conduct business using their Words of Power: simple words and phrases that make up their skills, spells, and abilities but are open to subjective interpretation when the moment calls for it. For example, the Word VISIONARY could be used to see a possible future outcome and know if the group’s plan is on the right path, or it could be used to see across a vast desert and scout for potential risks.

When a Death Agent uses their Word of Power, they roll 2d6 and hope to get under that Word’s value.

  •  Rolling under = intended action succeeds. This also causes a rush of memory for your living self that may make you question your objectives and position in this post-life planet system.
  •  Rolling over = you failed. The value of the Word increases by one, increasing the chance of success in the future, but you also add to the word to make its use more specific.
  •  Rolling the exact value = a better-than-expected result, but the Word itself fractures. The player then creates new Words using the letters of the fractured Word. Correct spelling isn’t necessary and creativity is encouraged. Example: VISIONARY can become AIRY and NOIS ([sic] noise).

Players learn new words as they traverse the infinite galaxy helping out the denizens of dead planets who teach new Words with grace, exploring locations with Words long-hidden, or besting terrible creatures who wield Words as weapons against the Agents.

Words are also used to define newly discovered planets, letting players affect the ever-expanding universe they inhabit at every turn and allowing for procedural generation of new locations and creatures in the moment, no need for the GM to memorize lore or prepare huge galaxies for exploration. 

There are additional systems in the book to account for Luck, Memories, and Life. If you make too many wrong moves, your soul goes to the planet HELL. Do I have your attention now?