Mars has perished. A red sea of dust is broken by jagged mountains dotted with the ruins of ancient pyramids. Evil sorcerers rule supreme. You play Knights of the House of Mars. The only ones who can bring life back to this planet.
What is This?
Knights of the House of Mars is a role-playing game where players take on the role of knights who accompany the Last Seer eastward to the Pyramid of Tharsis. The world is dead; the way it became so and the reason you journey eastward are questions to discover the answers to through play with your friends at the table.
Knights of the House of Mars was a project I first started in 2018 as part of the 200 Word RPG Design Challenge. It ended up placing as a finalist that year. This zine edition is a fully re-imagined re-designed table top game for 2 – 4 players. It makes use of a single deck of ordinary playing cards.
KotHoM is a GM-less cooperative game where each player in turn sets a scene about their knight as they journey eastward, answering questions and determining their character’s fates. Play resolves these scenes using a deck of cards and player detailed characteristics.
A Doom That You Shall Never Escape
Each character is made up of Traits, Gifts, a Duty & a Doom. Each of these are player determined and act as ways to fictionally position the character in scenarios determined during play. They act mechanically also and are assigned card values that form the players’ hands, drawn from the deck of playing cards. These characteristics are used in the conflict resolution system.
When it is not your turn or scene, you play as the NPCs or antagonists. When conflicts arise you play cards sifted from the Seer’s Scrying Pool. The Scrying Pool is a spread of cards determined at the start of play that remain face up until they are pulled and played. Watch as the portents of your fate slowly fade from in front of you.
At the end of play, once the Seer safely arrives at the pyramid, players shuffle cards they have earned from succeeding at conflicts and draw one final card from that shuffled spread. This card determines their final fate. What happens to these knights once they reach their goal? Their ultimate fate lays between the stars at night.
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