Chthonian Highways

Chthonian Highways is a tabletop role-playing game set in a world where nightmarish creatures have ravaged the Earth and otherworldly landscapes have merged with ours. Strange, dreadful beings prowl in the shadows, and dangerous alien flora is taking over the green forests and grasslands. The few remnants of civilization are held together by the Chthonian highways – a web of roads that are still traversable by ground vehicles. The characters are dauntless road warriors who roam the cursed highways in their souped-up cars and motorcycles for as long as there is gasoline to keep the engines roaring.

The Game

Chthonian Highways is currently at its alpha development stage and in open playtesting. The latest version is a playable prototype of Ironcore Engine including a brief description of the setting, rules, character creation, equipment, vehicles and a single ready-to-play scenario for 2 to 4 players. The latest version of the playtest kit can be downloaded for free below in the Downloads section.

Please note that this is not the final product. The game is still in development and some parts are still missing and/or only partially proofread. It probably has some mistakes here and there too.

The World of Chthonian Highways

What we know now as the Reckoning started roughly twenty years ago. First there were massive earthquakes like none we had ever seen before. The quakes were followed by tsunamis and the thick fog that rolled in from the sea. Millions of people were killed and lost in these natural disasters. At least we thought they were natural until the great sinkholes appeared and many cities collapsed into the deep chasms on the ground. Dense, foul-smelling steam poured out of these holes and people reported that they saw horrific creatures climbing out of the thick mist.

The earthquakes and the sinkholes of the Reckoning shattered most of the old roads and highways, but some were spared. The highways that are still good are used to transport people and goods through the wastelands between the settlements. While the cannibals and bandits often lie in wait along the roads, the roads are still safer and faster to travel than the badlands that are filled with unknown threats and abominable monstrosities.

SurvivorThe Road Warriors

The player characters are road warriors, brave men and women who are willing to risk their lives on the chthonian highways for a cause or for worldly riches. Some road warriors are more like mercenaries or wasteland paladins on a quest, while others are more like travelling merchants or messengers trying to keep up people’s hopes.
Because death is always lurking on the chthonian highways, road warriors tend to form groups called convoys. The road warrior convoys are tightly knit groups with people, who are willing to give their lives for each other. Only by trusting your convoy, you can survive another day on the chthonian highways.

The Rules

Chthonian Highways is powered by Ironcore Engine. A rules system that is designed especially with action and adventure genres in mind. 

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Chthonian Highways is created as a ready-to-play demo and playtest kit of Ironcore Engine, an original roleplaying game system developed in collaboration with Ironspine and Myrrysmiehet Oy. Ironcore Engine combines well-tested ‘old school’ conflict resolution with more story-driven game mechanics called Push, Strain and Velocity.

 

The basic conflict resolution is easy to learn: d20 + skill level + modifiers versus a set Challenge Level (CL) or an opposing Skill Check result. Things get more interesting when we bring in the Pushing, Strain and Velocity.

Push and Strain

In Ironcore Engine characters have four Abilities that determine their basic capabilities and inner resources.

  • Body comprises of the character’s endurance, health and overall fitness.
  • Precision reflects the character’s fine motor skills, dexterity and aim.
  • Wits measures the character’s intelligence, resourcefulness, memory and ability to concentrate.
  • Psyche represents the characters instincts, mental stability and fortitude.

Instead of using the Abilities as a straight bonus to Skill Checks, the character can Push the Abilities to add up to three additional dice to the Skill Check. Each additional dice causes a point of Strain on the Ability, lowering its value temporarily. Besides Pushing, Strain is also caused by other effects that harm or weaken the character physically or mentally, such as damage, fear or fatigue. When the character is Pushing, the player rolls all the dice together – a d20 plus one d20 for each point of Strain taken – and picks the highest die result. This result is used to calculate the character’s Skill Check result.

Velocity

When you succeed exceptionally well, your character gets Velocity. You can use the Velocity points immediately to increase the quality of your success or to perform special maneuvers or feats of heroic proportions. Unused Velocity points can be saved for later, so your “critical hit” will not be wasted on some trivial Skill Check.

Feedback, Discussion and Newsletter

For now you can provide feedback by sending it through the contact form or by sharing it in our Google+ Community. If you prefer to use Facebook, you can reach us through Ironspine’s Facebook page. At this phase all feedback is valuable to us.

To keep updated on all the new releases and important updates subscribe to our Ironspine Newsletter:

 


DOWNLOADS

Get the FREE Alpha Playtest Kit from DrivethruRPG or RPGnow:

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PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT THE COMPLETE BOOK.
The game is still in development and some parts are still missing and/or only partially proofread. It probably has some mistakes here and there too.

Maps

World Map

The World Map with Notes | A Plain World Map

Map with a Round Counter | Map without a Round Counter | A Plain Area Map

Character & Vehicle Sheets

Character Sheet | Vehicle Sheet


Communities & Resources

Google+ Community

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