The Curse of Numerian Nine is a fantasy adventure board game I’ve been developing. The game is for two to eight players and it is set in the Kingdom of Numeria, on the world of Malkat. I did the board game map in Campaign Cartographer 3, with symbols borrowed from Dungeon Designer 3 and City Designer 3. I’ll add the finishing touches in Inkscape.
Here’s the premise of the game:
Centuries ago, the residents of the region – humans, elves, dwarves, skeletons, giants, and trolls – were constantly at war with each other. Then came the Numerians, a cabal of wizards who united the region under their rule and brought peace. There were nine wizards in the cabal; the lesser eight each ruled over one settlement in the region, with the ninth ruling over all. The peace lasted for decades, until Numerian Nine, King of Numeria, went mad.
Nine’s first act was to betray and cruelly murder the other eight wizards of the cabal. Then he turned his magic against the Kingdom itself, casting a terrible curse upon it. Nine’s magic laid waste to the human village of Lael, turned many of the townsfolk of Deneb into zombies and the elves of Whisperleaf into ghouls. The peaceful Druids of the Sacred Grove were slaughtered or driven away by giant insects, the Dwarves of Black Rock Mountain driven into hiding by a plague of demons, and the Giants of Cloud Castle overwhelmed by hordes of Giant Rats. The wild Trolls and Skeletons, without the restraining influence of the Numerians who had ruled them, became unruly and savage. The remaining peaceful citizens of Numeria fled into the surrounding Kingdoms.
But eight have returned. Each player is represented on the board by a character token depicting a hero of Numeria, bent on reclaiming their ancestral lands and restoring the glory of Numeria. They have taken upon themselves the names of the Eight who were slain. They are:
- Galexis Griffonwold (Numerian One): a Human wizard representing the town of Deneb.
- Haly Kirk (Numerian Two): a Human witch representing the village of Lael.
- Hortense Stigweard (Numerian Three): a Human druid representing the Sacred Grove.
- Siofra Sheehy (Numerian Four): an Elven archer representing the village of Whisperleaf.
- Ozzie Triphammer (Numerian Five): a Dwarven axeman representing Black Door Mountain.
- Spyridon Spindleshanks (Numerian Six): a Giant slinger representing the Cloud Castle.
- Gabriel Ratchet (Numerian Seven): a Skeleton swordsman representing the village of Knackrattle.
- Treesnot (Numerian Eight): a Troll berserker representing the Muttering Swamp.
Each character has unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses that will help shape their progress through the game.
The Eight each possessed an Artifact sacred to his or her people. The Artifacts are scattered throughout the Kingdom, and some are under heavy guard. The Artifacts are concealed in hidden levels of the board game, as follows:
- The Dancing Bone, sacred to the Skeleton Warriors, is found in the Monster Skeleton in the Village of Knackrattle.
- The Ogress’ Braid, sacred to the Trolls, is found under the River Murmurous, accessible only via the Troll Bridge.
- The Rain Bow, sacred to the Elves, is found in one of the huts of the Village of Whisperleaf.
- The Axe of Eom, sacred to the Dwarves, is found in the mines beneath Black Door Mountain.
- The Agate Mortar, sacred to the Humans of the Village of Lael, is found in the Ruined Festhall.
- The Golden Sickle, sacred to the Druids of the Sacred Grove, is found at the bottom of The Deepering Pool.
- The Magic Goose, sacred to the Giants, is found in the Cloud Castle.
- The ElseWhen Clock, sacred to the Humans of Deneb, is found in the Temple of Deep Time.
The goal of the game is two-fold: first, to obtain at least three of the Artifacts. The Artifacts give the possessors certain abilities that will help the player through the game. As soon as a player has obtained three Artifacts, he or she has the option of issuing a Challenge to Numerian Nine. If the Challenge is accepted, the player is magically whisked away to the Tower of Numerian Nine, where he or she will have to make it through various challenges before finally confronting Numerian Nine himself.
The second goal of the game is to defeat Numerian Nine and claim the Sun Crown, and with it, rulership over the entire Kingdom of Numeria. The more Artifacts a player possesses, the more powerful his or her character will be and consequently more likely to defeat Numerian Nine. But other players may not be so patient!
Along the way there will be numerous challenges. Monsters roam free on the roads of Numeria, some of which the players will have to fight in order to proceed. And Numerian Nine left many traps behind when he ravaged the countryside, including pits lined with spikes and exploding magic runes. In addition to the random dangers, there are guardians outside each of the sub-game entry points, which will have to be defeated to proceed and claim an Artifact.
But there are rewards, as well. Numerian Nine was as mad with his wealth as with his curses. Piles of gold and jewels lie scattered around the Kingdom, free to any player character who stumbles across them. This wealth in turn can be used to buy equipment and favors, and even to bribe guards.
As I finish designing the sub-levels of the game and fine-tuning the rules, I’ll post updates. The finished board will include a path of squares overlaid on the cobblestone and dirt roads of Numeria, so that players can advance their pieces according to the number of squares rolled on a die. I’ve also designed a spinner for random encounters along the way (see the next post), but it has a very Perilous Jack feel to it, so it may not belong with this game. We’ll see how it goes . . .