Qalidar: Resistance

The horned shadows of towers that were never built have clawed their way across reality in ever more aberrant shapes. While the treptyls pull strings from behind their corporate masks, Qalidar continues to seep through the space-time flaws they recklessly exploit. The skulking Indrids warn us to avert our eyes and stop our ears against the echoes of the cataclysm, lest its image in our minds conjure a more thorough apocalypse. Meanwhile, whether by the cruel experiments of the insectoid dobbers or the compulsive ritual construction work of the cyborg custodians, our minds and our world are being quietly made over in the image of something else. 

But there are those who can hear the whisper under the Storm, whose travels have taken them far enough outside the tapestry of the Synarchs that they can see the pattern for what it is. They can step into the secret places where the oligarchs spin their webs, and they can cover the wells through which the substance of Qalidar bubbles into the daylit world. Some are soldiers in a larger rebellion and some are solitary explorers, but one word unites them all: Resistance. 

Will you join them, or will you surrender to the sprawling shadow of Qalidar?

What is Qalidar?
While the home world in which your characters live could be any real or imagined place you want, the central assumption of this game is that Qalidar lurks beneath the surface.

Qalidar is a name for the cracks spreading out from a hole in time, and for the pits one drops into when falling through those cracks. Perhaps most famously, it refers to a starless city at the heart of the spiral where three roads named for the three gorgon sisters converge.

Qalidar is also the transcendent  Storm that opens the way to this broken reality and offers the canny traveler a powerful, if dangerous, path to faraway ports and alien worlds. And beyond that Storm, if such a thing is conceivable, Qalidar is the screaming light that sears the empty plains of the Outside.

These are lost, broken worlds of toxic darkness, filled with fungus-maddened cannibals and carnivorous living crystal. The sentient beings that have learned to survive here are no better for their rationality. Less evolved minds would never be capable of such calculated cruelty. Less evolved minds would never have found a way to extend their venomous claws back into the natural world.

These interloping minds from the dark places under the universe constitute the other major component of the assumed setting. Corporations and governments are being manipulated across multiple worlds. Whether intentionally or by reckless exploitation, the universe is being altered. The player characters, as storm walkers, able to travel through the Storm, will be among the few individuals in a position to discover and combat these depredations.

Your Characters
Characters are built using six basic attributes on a 3-18 scale. Strength, Agility, and Intelligence are exactly what they sound like. Constitution, as in other games and, of course, the nineteenth century, is health and physical hardiness. Perception is an aggregate measure of the acuity of all the character's senses. Power measures willpower and force of personality. Available character classes include:

Whether by magic, science, or some mysterious blending of the two, you have begun a process of radical self-enhancement that will take you farther and farther from ordinary humanity as you progress. The ascendant's standard abilities are based on fairly simple  enhancements like night vision, enhanced healing, ability score increases, and natural armor. Other upgrade options also become available, including magical or technological attachments and enhanced cognitive abilities.

Fixers take things apart and put them back together in new ways. These are not methodical professionals who take care to do everything correctly, but roguish improvisers who throw together alchemy, electronics, sympathetic magic, and whatever else looks good at the time, only guessing at the potential result. Fixers are given single or multi-use items such as potions or gadgets which they can choose as they advance. They also have a special improvisational ability which enables them to combine elements during an adventure for a one-time effect.

As a karcist, you give form to the ever-growing flaws in the structure of the multiverse and bind the resulting entities - ephemeral intelligences called vectors - to your will. Vectors can manifest as animistic spirits, demons, and even computer viruses. The karcist's skills are rooted in the forms of ritual magic, relying on symbols, talismans, and secret names. The karcist gains a steady progression of abilities focused on gaining information from vectors, commanding and animating the undead, contacting other planes, and similar otherworldly abilities. In addition, you frequently gain single-use talismans that you are assumed to have created between sessions.

The  mystic  is  an  ascetic  who learns to see the true nature of reality through contemplation. As a mystic, you can learn to read minds, heal wounds, and even use your heightened awareness and  studied detachment to sidestep the whims of fate. In addition to a number of psychic powers which you select as you advance, you can fudge dice rolls and access the abilities of your other selves from alternate realities.

This is the close combat expert, whether armed or bare-fisted. No other class can match you for combat stamina or breadth of hand to hand weapon skills. The scrapper's advantages are primarily in hit points and an increasing number of extra interrupts. Scrappers also gain the equivalent of a knack for all hand to hand attacks.

The sharp is all about precision. You train intensely with your chosen weapon, study your target, and strike decisively. A sharp gets bonuses with a specialized weapon and for studying a target before attacking. You also receive several other abilities related to this theme as your character advances.
Game Rules
The core mechanic is simple and will be familiar to most gamers. Roll a twenty-sided die, add the appropriate modifiers, and try to match or exceed a target number.

As in the Peryton RPG, skills are handled somewhat nebulously, using ability checks modified by a third of the character's level. As your character progresses, you acquire knacks, special areas of expertise for which you add your level instead of the standard bonus.

Unlike the Peryton RPG, saving throws no longer exist as a discrete mechanic. When some form of resistance or avoidance roll is required, an ordinary ability check of the appropriate type is used. Because of this, it is also possible that a character could have a knack for a roll of this sort, even for a purely autonomic process like resisting poison.

Attack rolls are calculated the same way, normally using Agility. As with saving throws, this means that specific maneuvers are eligible to become knacks. For example, one's attack roll might normally be [d20 + Agility modifier + 1/3 level]. If that character has a knack for attempting to disarm, then anything that reasonably falls into this category would instead be attempted as [d20 + Agility modifier + level]. More detailed guidelines for adjudicating situations like this will, of course, be provided with the rules.

As for the target number, everyone has a defense score, which is determined primarily by character class and level. Armor absorbs damage, but negatively impacts defense, making your character easier to hit, but better able to take it.

Another addition is the concept of interrupts. Every character gets a single attack plus movement each round but, as they progress, your characters will also gain interrupts. Every interrupt is an opportunity to take an action during someone else's turn, or an extra one during your own. Interrupts are renewed at the end of the encounter, and can be useful for parries, dodges, and all manner of improvisational tactics.

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All content is Copyright Christina Lea, Peryton Publishing, or the original artist, and may not be reproduced without prior written permission. Qalidar: Resistance, Peryton Publishing, and the Peryton Publishing logo are Trademarks of Peryton Publishing. Qalidar is a trademark of Christina Lea.