Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Atlantasia: It's Worse Than I Thought

In an earlier post, your humble host started to make a character for The Realms of Atlantasia, Johann Nederland – Spy Mage. In this post, I shall endeavor to continue this task. Previously, we determined that Johann had a bonus of +25% to reaction rolls. Allow me to clarify. This bonus is derived from Dexterity, so it's not “Does the NPC like me?” reaction, but more of “Get out of the way” reflex reaction. At least, I assume this is the case; reaction rolls are not explained anywhere in the rules. Other than the Dexterity bonus chart, there is no mention of 'reaction rolls.'

In Atlantasia, as mentioned in the earlier post, one cycle equals one day, but does one Atlantasian day equal one Earth day? If we assume this, we encounter some wonky issues with time. According to page 17, “20 segments = 1 cycle” and “10 semi-segments = 1 segment.” If one Atlantasian day equals one Earth day, then one segment equals 1.2 hours and one semi-segment equals 7.2 minutes (or 432 seconds if you prefer). A semi-segment is “one round of engagement.” Either Atlantasian days are very short or John Holland's calculations are off by at least an order of magnitude.

Let's see if we can figure this out. What's the standard movement rate for characters? Um...Character movement rates are not discussed in the rules. There is no indicated place anywhere on the eight page character profile to record a character's movement rate. There's a place to record the durability of each of a character's gloves, but not movement rate. Wait, there's a place for the “speed” of a horse. What do the rules say? On page 110, Holland graces us with this bit of knowledge, “all horses have a speed (roll d% for m.p.h.).” So, in Atlantasia, any given horse can have a speed anywhere between one and one-hundred miles per hour... Of course, we don't know what “hour” means in the Atlantasian reckoning of time. Does Holland mean a segment? Well, what about other creatures with Earth analogs? Many of the entities described in the “Encounter Compodium” (sic) don't have a movement rate, but antelopes are listed as very fast (300 ft per semi-segment). So, if an antelope was able to travel at maximum speed for an entire Atlantasian day, it would cover just over 11 miles. On Earth, an antelope's hourly speed is easily four times that distance. Perhaps Earth antelopes differ from Atlantasian antelopes (or Earth miles differ from Atlantasian miles). Sweet, merciful Trithereon, save me! Wait, why should we worry about this? The speed at which a character can move will probably never come into play (as opposed to the amount of damage a glove can sustain). Let's proceed...

The Atlantasian atlases have not yet been published, so for Johann's birthplace, let's just put “the City of Baba-Luna” and speak no more of it.

On the character profile sheet, there is a place for Alignment; however, there is no description of alignments. Certainly, alignment is mentioned in the book; there is a 'know alignment' spell and a curse that changes a character to the 'opposite' alignment. Alignments are neither defined nor discussed in the rules. Somebody on page 174 has an alignment of “NE” and mention is made on page 230 of an alignment of “UE.” I think that 'neutrality' is a viable option, so that will be Johann's alignment.

Next on the character profile sheet is Deity. Is there a convenient listing of Atlantasian gods? Of course not! How silly of me to ask. OK, I'm just going to go with Priss-nee-ich, apparently the goddess of venereal diseases. (No, I'm not making this up; it's on page 292.)

Now for “Life Points,” which are based on career. According to page 31, “[D]ouble or triple class characters use all class rolls.” So, Johann gets 3d6 + 1d4 Life Points – the result is 13 Life Points.

According to page 262, “All magic using careers only get 1 attack per engagement round (1 / ss)...” One attack per 7.2 minutes? That's harsh! Nothing indicates that spies get any additional attacks.

Under 'Weapon Proficiencies' on page 27, we find the following instruction:

To begin one must find their dominant hand (or if they are ambidextrous). To do this the player rolls % dice once. If they roll 100% they are ambidextrous. If not, they roll % dice two more times (once with their right hand, once with their left hand). These percentage numbers are listed on the first page under R.H. & L.H.

The first page of the character profile? Actually, 'right hand' and 'left hand' are spelled out. Anyway, Johann is not ambidextrous; his 'right hand' is 91% and his 'left hand' is 9%. What does this mean? I fear that I shall never know.

I assume that Johann has one weapon proficiency. “For each weapon proficiency...the player will roll the % dice once...This will be their starting proficiency.” For Johann, I roll 25. Ah, but what weapon? Some weapons have strength and/or dexterity requirements, but there doesn't seem to be any restrictions due to one's career. Since Johann is a spy, he needs to be subtle. A quarterstaff seems pretty innocuous and it does more damage than a dagger (1d6 vs 1d4). The strength requirement is 3, so Johann can handle it. The cost is...wait, this can't be right...400 gold chips?!?! A quarterstaff costs the same as two canvas topped wagons? (It's the gnomes; they're ruining the economy!) Maybe I should go with the dagger; it's only 100 gold chips.

Before I continue, I guess I need to determine Johann's starting possessions and see what weapon he can afford. First, there are the finance charts on which Johann receives a -40% modifier because he is low class. From the finance charts, Johann acquires: 2 platinum chips, 200 gold chips, and four jewels (1 @ 300 G.C., 1 @ 200 G.C., and 2 @ 100 G.C.). (Each jewel is valued at 50 – 500 G.C., so I rolled 1d10 and multiplied by 50.) Due to the unequal distribution of wealth on Atlantasia (for which the gnomes are undoubtedly responsible), Johann has no silver chips, copper chips, or gems. (I have no idea why Holland distinguishes jewels from gems.) Next, there are the 'Magical Stuff' charts; Johann's rolls are modified based upon his career choices and his low class status. Johann has no magical weapon and no magical armor; however, he is entitled to: one roll on the Magical Ring Chart, one roll on the Special Ring Chart, one roll on the Magical Items Chart, and one roll on the Special Items Chart.

Here are Johann's magic items.
Ring of Reward – grants + 1-2 psychic strength
Ring of Edged Perfection – grants x10 damage to edged weapons but is only usable by a 50th level priest(ess) of Ta-Khu. (That's bogus, I'm rolling again.)
Saddlebags of Charity – according to page 249, the possessor “never pays for food or lodging.” The catch is that “the player must be riding the horse or carrying the saddlebags” – the player, not the character.
An enchanted jewel – the enchantment is determined based upon the value of the jewel. (The value of the jewel is not given, so I'm rolling again.)

Johann's re-rolled magic items.
Ring of Divine Power – cast two spells at once (Only for priests, I'm rolling again.)
Blanket of Translocation – “translocates to a pre-determined location.”

Third time's the charm.
Ring of the Gods – grants + 1-2 to all attributes

Alas, it looks like at least one more post will be necessary to complete Johann.

As you can see, there will be plenty of challenges facing you as you adventure in Atlantasia!
                                                     – Atlantasia web site


  1. Stop, stop, my brain is exploding!

    Looks like he's closed down his site, it's just an ISP announcement now.

    1. Don't worry, it's still up! The old address doesn't work but I've changed the link above.

    2. Why is his website underwater? His website is making my eyes bleed and inducing nausea.

    3. Thoul's Paradise cannot be held accountable for linked content (unless the legislative branch says otherwise).

    4. The Website is also brilliant! This is the most entertaining rpg that I have never played, looked at a book or considered buying. ROA is pure awesome. When it's time to click the next button you never know what your going to get on the next page, but it's usually awesome (In a eye bleeding nausea inducing kind of way). One of the big selling features of the game seems to be the option of killing your horse by not taking care of it. I guess like a tamagatchi. That's what I want to role play.

  2. This is awesome!!! BEST.....GAME.....EVER........for me to poop on.

  3. I just went back and read the original article and the author clearly states "D&D is not challenging enough". I think that his design goal of making a more challenging game has his the mark. One thing that I am looking forward to now that this magnum opus has been released will be the novels that the author has put on the back burner in order to get out ROA. If the authors novels have half the attention to detail that the rpg is getting I'm ready.

    1. I don't want to disappoint you, but it took the guy 18 years to publish the game. Who knows how long the novels will take? Also, there are planned game supplements competing for his attention. Such supplements include (but are not limited to) 'The Tome of Dimensions' and 'The 3 Dictionaries (High Elven, Dwarven & Gnomish).'