Midgard is a realm between the ocean and the trackless waste. Ice to the North, desert to the south, and the everpresent threat of the Alien East ensure that most travelers roam only within the Middle Kingdoms. Long ago the Elves ruled the west, the Dwarves the north, and men all that lay between. However, five hundred years ago a great empire of Men arose and drove the Dwarves beneath the earth in the age of Smoke. Since that time the Elves have diminished and slowly but surely retreated, first to their forested homes on the coast, and more recently, beyond them. In the current age, the age of Embers, the great empire is gone, leaving competing kingdoms and baronies in its wake, but the Elves show no sign of slowing their pilgrimage. The Dwarves are still cautious of men, the city of Eslen their only surface outpost.
In the last few years, the embers have once again been stoked to flame. The Orcish tribes of Norga have coalesced in the service of foreign gods, only to fall to disarray and retreat to the winter wastes. The dead have refused the earth across the Itani marches, and odd echoes of lives still haunt those hills. Dalriada’s kings have been usurped, leaving three Ladies to rule in steel, song, and shadow. And in the south, the last remnants of the fey have struck out against the old city of Casta, before vanishing back to Cymraeg, and across the sea.
Unnatural 20 is a “classic gold” D&D game, using the Pathfinder rules. It deliberately and gleefully hits as many fantasy tropes as feasible while trying to keep the plot fast, fun, and fresh. Three chapters have been played so far, resulting in all of Midgard trembling beneath the hands of a small group of Lutetian protagonists:
Arena (The Handmaiden): A human rogue, and a spirit of vengeance for all wrongs visited upon the innocent.
Ekring Tensten Lee (of the Broken Friends): A human fighter. A simple man, swept up in adventure beyond his comprehension.
Elowen Ohpi (The Shadow of the North): A halfling rogue, running from her past into an unknown and shadowy future.
Kafu Ostra (of the Sideways Magi): A half-orc sorceror who’s blood runs thick with a poison not quite of the world.
You can listen to a substantial portion of the story here .
Although, be warned, this is definitely Rated 18 in terms of content. Please do not click on that link unless you are fine with all manner of inventive swears and fairly consistent language.
The expanded cast includes:
Talia’s inspiration, referenced above, is here .
- Kafu’s Exposition is above, as the Story So Far.
- Letters to Glodurin
- Gallan’s Gazette a series of articles on the inhabitants of Midgard by the intrepid explorer, Imano Gallan.
- Soundtracking the use of music is essential to U20. Many of the characters, places, and events are associated with very specific pieces or types of music
- Character Creation notes on developing characters in Midgard. These are likely to change as more of the world is unveiled.
- Gods and Demons as far as the adventurers are concerned, Animism is the prevailing faith system in Midgard, but a variety of powers exist with shamanic, sorcerous and oracular followers.
The only 100% cannon books currently in effect are the Pathfinder Player’s Guide and The Advanced Player’s Guide (unlocked by attaining 9th level on all Primaries). The Pathfinder Bestiary is largely in effect, although significant deviations from the published material regularly occur. Furthermore, a lot of the races in U20 have background material with non-trivial consequences.
- If someone yells stop, taps out, goes limp, the night is over. The “Are We Having Fun Yet” Rule. If you’re not having fun and you’re not excited, something is wrong and needs fixing.
- Nights will go on as long as they have to. The Bear Is Driving? Rule. if you have to be somewhere at time X, please tell me at the start of play so I can cliffhanger your ass accordingly. It is you who will be the one escaping.
- If this is your first night, you have to fight. The “Let Me Dicksplain” Rule. New players will be dropped straight into the action. We will not slow down for you. But don’t worry, Kafu will explain everything.
- Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The “Enough Rope” Rule. I say yes to almost everything and take great pleasure in doing so. What this really means is that you cannot get away clean from anything.
- In the absence of a net force, a body either is at rest or moves in a straight line with constant speed. The “I’m RIGHT HERE” Rule. I take notice of everything you do. It is not difficult. I am sat directly across from you. This cuts both ways though. If I’ve made a mistake, call me on it.
- If the entropy of each element in some (perfect) crystalline state be taken as zero at the absolute zero of temperature, every substance has a finite positive entropy; but at the absolute zero of temperature the entropy may become zero, and does so become in the case of perfect crystalline substances. The “Immovable Rod Is Immovable” Rule. An extension to rules 4 and 5. I will occasionally ask you to confirm a given course of action. Sometimes, I will ask you twice.
- No shirts, no shoes.