What is a tabletop role-playing game?
Tabletop role-playing games are games designed to let a group of players create a collaborative story. To achieve this, one player acts as the game master (GM). The role of the GM is to control the environment and guide the story of the game. The other players create characters that they control and guide through the world that the GM manages. For more information about role-playing games and their history you can refer to this article: tabletop role-playing wikipedia.
The basics of Apotheosis
Apotheosis is a tabletop role-playing game that strives to improve upon other popular role-playing games by increasing player volution over their character's progression and increasing the realism of combat. This is done through three primary innovations to the classic tabletop role-playing archetypes.
First, Apotheosis does away with the abstract notion of experience points that contribute to a character's progression, Apotheosis uses a more realistic system in which character attributes increase directly as you use them. For example, if a character uses their Strength a lot, whether for combat or otherwise, their Strength attribute will increase. This ties into the second major innovation of Apotheosis.
Second, Apotheosis doesn't use classes to determine a character's abilities and play style. Instead, as you gain attribute increases you gain abilities associated with that attribute. The abilities you take are up to you allowing you to make extremely unique characters and play styles tailored to your exact preferences. Because of this ability-based system, Apotheosis has over 500,000 different builds.
The final major innovation of Apotheosis compared to most other fantasy TRPG systems is in combat. Many TRPG systems use hit-points which generally represent a creature's ability to be wounded without dying. This creates many issues for storytelling and immersion as high-level creatures undergo incredible physical abuse without major repercussions. Apotheosis uses Energy Points (EP) instead of hit-points to approximate a creature's stamina and ability to evade being wounded. EP and hit-points are interchangeable at first glance, but EP has some major advantages over hit-point-based systems. For example, a restrained creature can be killed outright in some circumstances. This allows GMs to create new forms of narrative tension that previous systems didn't allow for. In Apotheosis being wounded in combat is a serious event, as it would be in reality. Wounds can be minor, but they can also have very serious or even permanent effects on a character. Additionally, creatures can choose to expend EP to perform feats that are physically draining, and that they might otherwise be incapable of.
The Design of Apotheosis
In addition to the changes outlined above Apotheosis features many design decisions that serve to create a unique and intense role-playing experience that rewards player creativity and problem-solving. One of the best examples of this is the spells in Apotheosis. Where many tabletop role-playing games make many spells with very similar effects, only really differing as to the amount and area in which they deal damage, Apotheosis has a different spell design philosophy. Each spell in Apotheosis has truly unique effects and is designed to be a problem-solving tool rather than just a name that deals x damage to y creatures. That's not to say that spells don't deal damage, or can't be used in combat, quite to the contrary. Spells in Aptheosis are extremely useful for controlling a battlefield and can be used to deal immense damage if properly leveraged. This and other design decisions in Apotheosis increase the intensity of the gameplay and create more of those incredible, memorable moments we all treasure from our tabletop role-playing experinces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why the name "Apotheosis"? Apotheosis has a few definitions which can be found here: definition. We chose the name Apotheosis because its definitions were exactly what we wanted to create in our TRPG. Apotheosis means the climax of something, particularly a story, and we wanted to make a system that would give players more of those cinematic, intense, and climactic experiences that form our most beloved and lasting memories of tabletop roleplaying. Additionally, Apotheosis means ascension into godhood, and as anyone whos played a high-level campaign can attest to, TRPGs tell the story of mortals who adventure and train until they become something god-like. We wanted to capture that feeling of ascension, to make a system that allows characters to go from normal people and eventually become forces unto themselves, gods. Finally, Apotheosis means something which captures the absolute essence of something and that is what Apotheosis aims to do with the fantasy TRPG genre. We want to capture the essence of what makes TRPGs great and create a system that can be used in any fantasy setting and that highlights all the strengths of the gaming medium.
Where did the figure 500,000 builds come from? Be warned, this question is going to involve a decent amount of math. I'll try to keep things brief here, but it involves combinations and permutations. Apotheosis claims to have over 500,000 builds because that's our estimate for the number of builds that have truly distinct and unique playstyles. The real number of builds is arbitrarily large. I won't get too far into the math here, but there are 5 attribute categories and for each category, the base Apotheosis rulebook includes around 30 abilities. When you reach the max level in any of the attributes, you'll have 8 abilities from that attribute category, but there are some restrictions as to your choices for each of those abilities. After all that is accounted for, you end up with about 22*20*18*18*16*10*8*5, or 912,384,000 possible ability combinations for each attribute category. That means between all 5 attribute categories, there's an estimated 632,249,221,676,706,115,483,204,583,424,000,000,000,000,000 possible builds. And this estimate is before accounting for different character species, spell choices, equipment, or how builds can change over time as a character progresses, all of which can further increase the number of possibilities. I won't go into too much more detail here, but after doing our best to eliminate builds that have too many abilities in common, or which share similar abilities from across different attributes, or have unrealistic choices (such as taking exclusively low-level abilities), and accounting for the fact that most characters are unlikely to max out all their attributes. We got a number around 575,000, and so used the figure 500,000 just to be safe.
How does the evasion system work in Apotheosis? Instead of creatures having a certain amount of physical damage they can take before dying (like is most TRPGs), they have a certain amount of stamina and combat skill that they can use to evade called EP. When a creature expends EP to evade they are also able to move, adding a level of tactical thinking to battles. If a creature is unable to evade, either because they are out of EP, unaware of the danger, restrained, etc. then they are wounded. When a creature is wounded they make a death save. However, a creature must take at least a certain amount of wound damage before their wounds have a chance to kill them. This wound damage could be delivered all at once, such as by an executioner's axe, or in smaller increments, since each time a creature is wounded the chance of them dying from subsequent wounds increases until they are healed or die. This system has a lot of advantages over the "hit point" based systems of most TRPGs. Most importantly, the evasion system increases the realism and immersion of the world while also giving game masters the ability to create more intense narratives with higher stakes.