za3k > games > ultimate archwizards vs the dark lord
You are an Ultimate Archwizard of your school--maybe you are the Laser Archwizard, maybe you're the Ultimate Genie who can grant any wish, or maybe you're the World Pro Wrestling champion who's so good you can compact opponents into a black hole while monologuing.
The Dark Lord has finally come to your solar system, and they will conquer it without fail as they have all others before yours, unless you stop them! Only you, the most powerful beings of your world, can possibly stop the Dark Lord.
Ultimate Archwizards vs the Dark Lord is a somewhat goofy RP/improv game for 3-6 players (including GM). It's designed to be played in one session of 2-4 hours. Everyone should bring a sheet of paper, a pencil, and a normal six-sided die. The GM should read these rules ahead of time. Other preparation is discouraged.
written 2021-02-03 by zachary "za3k" vance
Character and world creation (part 1)
- Draw or describe your character.
- Mastery and powers: Decide what you're the Ultimate Archwizard of ("lasers", "genies", or "pro wrestling" in the examples above). The GM will describe how you are the master of your school, and describe your two special powers.
- Skills: Pick one thing your character is world-class at (+2), one they're good at (+1), one they're bad at (-1) and one they're unbelievably terrible at (-2).
- Seal: You are so powerful, that your powers must remain sealed--describe how. Are you wearing heavy training weights? Do you have a special magical eyepatch holding back your cool glowing eye? Are you lazy? As long as your seal is in place, you can't use your powers. The GM will let you know when it's safe to unseal your powers.
- Dark Lord: Describe one special power or strength of the Dark Lord. No one knows the Dark Lord's weaknesses, if any.
- The GM will write down the 4 skills from each player as they're said aloud. Then the GM names 4 more skills, to round things out. These are now all the skills available in the game. All challenges will be solvable skills from the skill list. Any other skills (climbing?) are unheard of in your world, and you can't solve challenges that way.
Character creation (part 2)
- Skills: Write down all missing skills from the skill list on your character sheet, with +0 in each.
- Skills: You have 4 additional skill points to spend.
- You can spend 1 skill point to increase any skill by +1.
- You're an Ultimate Archwizard, so you're not limited to world-class (+2). Make skills as high as you want.
- You may NOT improve the two skills your character is bad at.
- You're welcome to improve 4 new skills, just improve your existing two skills, or anything in between.
- Whenever you encounter a challenge, it can be overcome through roleplay (including using your mastery), using your Archwizard powers, or through using your ordinary skills
- Powers and mastery 100% always succeed. They may not always do what you expect.
- To use a skill to overcome a challenge, roll d6 and add your skill. Compare the result to the challenge difficulty.
- If the result is 2 or more higher than the difficulty, you have total success (yes, and...), and it goes exactly how you wanted. Describe what happens.
- If the result is 0 or 1 higher than the difficulty, you have mixed success (yes, but...). Describe what happens.
- If the result is lower than the difficulty, you fail (no, and...). Add 1 to your skill--you've improved through experience. If you have any fun ideas what went wrong, describe what happens. Otherwise the DM will give you an idea to describe.
- Whenever you describe what happens, you describe how NPCs react, and what happens in the world--not just what your character does.
You are already Ultimate Archwizard. There is no room for improvement. But, you may be able to broaden your skills. If there's more than one session, you become the Archwizard of a second thing. Pick that thing, and you'll get extra powers.
You win when the Dark Lord is defeated--whether through battle, diplomacy, seduction, or elaborate time paradox.
Ultimate Archwizards vs the Dark Lord was inspired by anime everywhere, as well as various one-page rule systems. In particular, the skill system is adapted from You Awaken in a Strange Place by Jacob Andrews.