Necronautilus is a science fantasy tabletop roleplaying game for a Gamemaster and 1+ players. It is simultaneously a stoner-metal science fantasy and an exploration of the subjectivity of language, ethics, memory, and reality. It is designed for single-sessions of play or ongoing series of missions across a variety of planets.
You act as souls bound to clouds of noxious gas called Death Agents, exploring a universe outside of time. Imagine planets full of souls of creatures who ended up there when they died. Use your Words of Power to act on behalf of the blind god Death and maintain order in a post-death galaxy, and see your powers grow and splinter while exploring the corporeal life you left behind.
- Clean Simple Rules - a collection of systems and resources that are easily tracked on the character sheet allow you to start playing in minutes. Roll 2d6, hope you get low numbers, and you'll be traversing the galaxy in no time.
- Emergent Storytelling - learn about the universe and your characters as you go, no need for players or GM to study the book to prepare.
- Dynamic Characters - grow as you explore and focus strengths and desires around what interests you most. Easily swing between power fantasy and emotional insight with near-instant, class-less character creation.
- Galactic Exploration - planets are defined by the playgroup as you explore them, allowing for the setting to shift with what you want to do most. Combines quick procedural generation to create an infinite universe. Every group's galaxy is uniquely their own.
- Skulls - there are a lot of them. The freakin character sheet has you writing words in eye sockets!
- Hardcover Book - 80 pages of simple rules, wild lore, rich layout, and gonzo artwork in black & white
How It Works
Character creation and world-building are minimal at first, allowing you to jump right into gameplay, but development continues throughout the course of play.
Death Agents conduct business using Words of Power: simple words and phrases that make up your 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 a Word of Power, you 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 = Better-than-expected Result, but the Word itself fractures. Create 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]
Learn new words as you traverse the infinite galaxy helping out the denizens of dead planets. Explore locations with Words long-hidden and best terrible creatures who wield Words as weapons against you.
Words are also used to define newly discovered planets, letting you affect the ever-expanding universe at every turn. Procedurally generate 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.
Are you ready for Necronautilus?